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Department of Education announces interim leader for Louisiana School for the Deaf  

Patrick Cooper, who once led the state’s special education office, will serve as the interim superintendent of Louisiana’s Special School District, effective immediately, the Louisiana Department of Education announced this morning.

Meanwhile, Louisiana School for the Deaf Principal Ryan Gollner has become the interim director of the school.

Cooper, who most recently has managed an education consulting business, has held executive leadership positions focused on education for nearly three decades and has been the state supervisor of a program for children with autism and emotional disabilities.

Gollner has worked at the Louisiana School for the Deaf his entire career, starting as a classroom teacher and rising through the ranks to eventually become assistant principal and then principal. He’s managed all academic and extracurricular activities of the school since 2015. Gollner, who is deaf, is fluent in American Sign Language and is a knowledgeable and proactive member of the deaf community.

Through a new partnership, Gollner will be supported by Jeffrey Bravin, executive director of the American school for the Deaf, as he leads the Louisiana School for the Deaf this year.

The SSD is in a time of transition after the DOE contracted the Education Development Center to review each school and work to improve low student outcomes. Education Development Center, working with subcontracted experts from the American School for the Deaf, the Perkins School for the Blind, and the Cotting School, visited each site, conducted interviews and focus groups and presented the state with recommendations for improvements and in response the DOE launched a search for a new superintendent of the SSD.  

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