Bedden eyed by Texas schools

Superintendent's contract in negotiations here
Dr. Dana Bedden, Richmond County school superintendent

 A Texas school system has shown interest in Richmond County School Superintendent Dana Bedden for a leadership role, local board member Frank Dolan said Monday.

 

Dolan could not confirm which Texas school system is interested in the Richmond County school leader, but he said he had heard that the Dallas suburb of Irving had a superintendent opening.

Dolan said some Richmond County board members had met with Texas officials to discuss Bedden, but he was not part of that meeting. Dolan said he was "befuddled" by the situation.

He said recent contract negotiations between the Richmond County board and Bedden were 99 percent complete and the board was ready to meet to finish the task.

"I have no earthly idea what we're doing now," he said.

He said a closed-door meeting of the school board was scheduled for 3 p.m. today to discuss Bedden's contract.

Phone calls to Bedden's office and cell phone were not returned. He was said to be in Tempe, Ariz., at a professional conference.

School officials in Irving, Texas, a Dallas suburb, said Monday morning that there was a superintendent vacancy but that they did not plan on announcing any candidates until the final choice is made in a called meeting Thursday night.

According to reports in The Dallas Morning News, the Irving Independent School District has been looking for a new superintendent since last year, when longtime Superintendent Jack Singley retired after 21 years in the position. A few months later, according to the newspaper, Singley died, but not before there was a move to have a high school named after him.

The school district is between Dallas and Fort Worth and has about 33,000 students, said Irving ISD trustee Nita Patrick, who refused to comment on any other questions about the superintendent search. According to the Texas Education Agency, Singley was making a base salary of $250,068.

Bedden's base salary is $189,625. His three-year contract is up for renewal in July.

Most board members have said they've been happy with Bedden's performance, and trustee Eloise Curtis said Monday that the board was even considering offering Bedden a larger salary in a new contract. She said she had heard Bedden had been interviewing in other areas, including Florida, but she hadn't heard of the Texas possibility.

Curtis and board members Jimmy Atkins and Alex Howard said they weren't aware of a local meeting involving Texas school officials. Messages left for members Helen Minchew, Barbara Pulliam and Patsy Scott on Monday weren't immediately returned. Member Venus Cain was in University Hospital on Monday and unavailable for comment. Hospital officials would say only that she was in good condition.

Board member Jack Padgett said Monday that he couldn't say whether he was at a meeting with Texas officials.

"All I can say is if somebody is looking for him and wanting him, I want to keep him here," Padgett said. "I would say he's very definitely a hot commodity, and that's one of the reasons I've been urging us to get a contract completed."

Dr. Dana Bedden's 3-year contract is up for renewal in July.

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