Whitson to be named acting schools chief

Appointment will last while Roberson recovers from brain surgery

The Richmond County school board will name Deputy Superintendent James Whitson the acting superintendent at a special meeting Tuesday while Superintendent Frank Roberson recovers from brain surgery, board President Alex Howard said Friday.

 

Howard said Whitson, the district's second in command, will act as the leader until Roberson is able to return to work.

"It makes sense to do it," Howard said.

Whitson could not be reached for comment Friday.

Roberson, 55, underwent emergency surgery at Medical College of Georgia Hospital on Thursday evening to relieve brain swelling and pressure, his family said in a statement released Thursday night by the school system. He was admitted to the hospital Tuesday night after suffering severe headaches and fatigue.

"It was determined that Dr. Roberson has an arteriovenous malformation in his cerebral region which may have been present since birth," the family said. "AVM, as it is commonly (known), is an abnormal collection of blood vessels (arteries and veins). Often, an AVM is not found until a hemorrhage occurs, such as what Dr. Roberson experienced. Fortunately, the bleeding has been successfully treated."

Because Roberson's family announced his recovery could take weeks, Howard said the school board must continue business as usual, as Roberson would wish.

Since the superintendent's hospitalization, the district had been functioning as if Roberson were on vacation, spokesman Louis Svehla said.

Whitson's duties as deputy superintendent allow him to make decisions in an emergency but do not authorize him to sign checks or conduct other superintendent duties. His appointment Tuesday as acting superintendent will stay in effect until the board has a better understanding of Roberson's prognosis, Howard said.

The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. in the board room at 864 Broad St., and no other business will be discussed, Howard said.

Whitson served as interim superintendent last summer, between the end of Dana Bedden's tenure in June and the beginning of Roberson's in August.

Staff writer Jason Wermers contributed to this article.

Richmond schools chief has surgery
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