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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Pasadena Schools Chief Announces Retirement

March 17, 2000

PASADENA — Vera J. Vignes announced Thursday she will retire in August after eight years as Pasadena's superintendent of schools.

Her departure comes after widespread demands for drastic change in the Pasadena Unified School District, lambasted by a federal judge last month as "abysmally" poor compared with other public school systems.

"After 34 years of continuous service in the public schools of California, I am looking forward to a time that allows me to enjoy my family, friends, home and the many life interests that I have," Vignes, 58, said in a statement.

School board members praised Vignes' moves to change the district, including passage in 1997 of a $240-million school facilities bond measure. They announced a nationwide search for a replacement.

Known for her long hours, Vignes bore the brunt of criticism from increasingly outspoken parents fed up with the district's performance.

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said Vignes had been 'both a beacon and lighting rod" in the community and had shown great stamina "in the face of sometimes unfair expectations." Vignes, who joined the district as an associate superintendent in 1987, informed board members Tuesday of her retirement. Her contract expires in June but will be extended to Aug. 31.

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