Exner was let go after rumors of him tampering with test scores at his previous job surfaced. The following is what Exner had to say Thursday:
I am both honored and grateful to have served Minnesota families for over 20 years as an educator. During this time, I have provided classroom instruction, athletic coaching and administrative leadership to thousands of Minnesota youth. I have maintained a spotless record with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).
Three years ago, I accepted a leadership role at Ubah Medical Academy and I am proud of the progress of the students at this institution. They are rich with culture and ambition and are progressing in their academic rigor. As the associate director (functional title - academic director), it was my responsibility along with the director to evaluate staff and academics and make many decisions, often difficult ones, which involved personnel. Some of these decisions were not popular, but a necessity for the organization to move forward.
While at Ubah, I continued to address concerns as they were raised within our school or the larger purview of the MDE openly and honestly. The allegation that I changed students' answers on state assessment tests is absolutely false. When I made the decision to leave Ubah, I remained in good standing with the school and held a signed contract for the 2013-14 school year.
The opportunity to do more for youth in Minnesota was at the heart of my candidacy to be principal of Washburn High School. My original application for employment with Minneapolis Public Schools was for a different position and during an early interview phase, I was asked to redirect my candidacy for the principal position at Washburn. During the interview process, I embraced the opportunities and challenges at Washburn and was eager to lead the institution forward. Beyond fostering academic excellence, my vision for Washburn was to build community by reaching out to local neighborhoods, and to ensure that everyone who walked through Washburn's doors felt welcomed and valued. I am saddened that I will not be the leader who restores harmony and excellence within Washburn's halls and the greater community.
Today, I reflect on the events of the last two weeks in utter dismay that under the veil of anonymity an individual was given the power to disrupt the plans for leadership at Washburn High School and leave me with an uncertain future. It is with faith and humility that I am moving forward, ever focused on the needs of Minnesota students. As an administrator, I respect the need for Washburn to swiftly eliminate distractions, but I remain committed to Minneapolis Schools and the final resolution of recent events.
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