School for Deaf hires new leader (Salem Statesman Journal)

School for Deaf hires new leader (Salem Statesman Journal)

Now at McKay High School, she worked at deaf school 1980-98

RUTH LIAO
Statesman Journal

May 25, 2007

Patti Togioka.jpgAn assistant principal at McKay High School has been hired as the director of the Oregon School for the Deaf, officials announced Thursday.

Patti Togioka will oversee instruction at the school and manage day-to-day operations, said Oregon Department of Education spokesman Gene Evans. Togioka will begin her new role Aug. 1.

Togioka, 53, worked at the Oregon School for the Deaf from 1980 to 1998 in teaching and administrative roles. She has been at McKay High School for the past six years.

“I’m elated to have been selected,” Togioka said. “I’m so excited to get back to work with them.”

The Oregon School for the Deaf in northeast Salem has about 120 students. About half live on campus during the week and go home on the weekends.

Togioka received her bachelor of arts degree from Gannon University in Erie, Pa. She received her masters degree in special education of the hearing impaired from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Togioka met her husband, who teaches American Sign Language for the Salem-Keizer School District, at Gallaudet University.

Togioka said she looks forward to building a sense of community with the school and rekindling relationships with staff and community members.

“We feel the deaf culture is our family,” Togioka said. “It’s very close to us. This feels as though my heart is there.”

State education officials began seeking a new director after Jane Mulholland was terminated from the deaf school in late December, a decision that angered many in the community.

Last Friday, the Oregon Department of Education announced its intent to move programming of the Oregon School for the Blind to the same campus as the Oregon School for the Deaf.

Togioka said she will remain focused on the deaf school, but would welcome the school for the blind.

“I will be working with what we have to make it the best environment for every student, staff member and family,” Togioka said.

Togioka said she plans to visit the school and meet parents in order to prepare for next fall. Interim director Jay Gense was appointed to manage both special schools until the end of the school year.

Togioka said her relations with the Salem-Keizer school district remain warm. Togioka said her experience at McKay has helped her prepare to become director.

“I have learned so much. That school is doing so well; the kids and staff are so wonderful,” Togioka said. “I feel so blessed that I can bring that with me.”

rliao@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 589-6941

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