Profile: KEITH WAGNER
(Interview with Marilyn Cramer, February, 2006)
Keith Wagner was the Acting Public School Superintendent during the 1974/75 school year, replacing Superintendent Derek Taylor who was away on educational leave.
When Keith came on board, the process for transitioning the Peace School of Hope to the Montrose School had already started. Sometime during the 1974/75 school term, the District Board took over. In the next year they worked on trying to move the program out of the Peace School of Hope building.
“We were going to move them into the south wing of the old Montrose Jr. High School.
I remember the controversy over the move and the fear about this program going into the Jr. High. Some teachers were afraid that the students would be bullied by the Jr. High school students or would not be accepted. Some of the parents had the same concerns. As a result, there was a proposed solution to have the doors built in the school and isolate the students from the rest of the school.
They created a Group B elective where there were locally developed options. We had an option where the students could learn about and help out the handicapped students. At one point, we had some kind of teachers meeting on this issue of isolating the students and a board member (Bill Leslie), who was a fairly mild mannered man, with the discussion going on and on, finally slammed down his fist on the table and said that there will be no doors built and we will all get along!
That was the end of the discussion and Bill was supported. It was an act of leadership. Shortly after this Gerry Mazer came into central office and programs for the multiple handicapped students were developed. Gillian Oliver developed the first programs. All of the students from the Peace School of Hope went to the Montrose Jr. High. Eventually the younger children went to their own schools.”
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