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January 22, 2003

Head of school for the deaf submits verbal resignation

From: Oregonian, OR - 22 Jan 2003


VANCOUVER -- Leonard E. Aron has resigned as superintendent of the Washington School for the Deaf, effective Feb. 15.

Aron submitted his verbal resignation to Gov. Gary Locke Tuesday afternoon, said Michael Marchand, the governor's spokesman.

That was nine days after the board of trustees sent a letter to Locke, who oversees the school, saying members had no confidence in Aron's ability to continue leading the school and recommended he be relieved of his job.

Aron was out of town and unavailable for comment.

His resignation comes 41/2 years after he took the job and 31/2 years after parents first publicly aired concerns about sexual and physical abuse on campus -- and the school's reaction to their complaints.

His resignation comes 11 days after trustees met with several state legislators in executive session to discuss ongoing problems at the school and administrators' lack of response in creating a safe place for students.

"After lengthy deliberation," the trustees' Jan. 12 letter said, "the board was polled for a show of support for the superintendent, Len Aron. The poll resulted in a determination of no confidence for Mr. Aron's continuing leadership."

The trustees asked Locke to remove Aron and appoint an interim superintendent.

Although trustees set policy for the daily workings of the school , the governor hires and fires the superintendent.

Aron will submit a written letter of resignation to Locke soon, Marchand said.

"Right now, we will be looking for an immediate replacement, and consult with the board for a permanent successor," he said. A national search for a new superintendent is likely, he said.

Holley Gilbert: 360-896-5721; 503-294-5900

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