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Bedden confirms consideration for Texas job

Superintendent under consideration for Dallas-area schools chief position

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Richmond County schools Superintendent Dana Bedden has confirmed his interest in a similar position in Irving, Texas.

Dr. Dana Bedden says Irving, Texas, school officials recruited him.   Special
Special
Dr. Dana Bedden says Irving, Texas, school officials recruited him.

"Recently, I was recruited for an opportunity in Texas," Bedden said in an e-mail Tuesday night. "Given the advice of my counsel and acting in the best interest of myself and my family, I responded and submitted my credentials in January. As part of the selection process, Texas school officials conducted a site visit at the RCSS this past week.

"I have received no offers nor made any decisions regarding my future as Superintendent."

Although Bedden's e-mail does not mention Irving specifically, he said in an education blog on The Dallas Morning News Web Site Tuesday that he had applied for the superintendent's job there and that officials from the Irving district visited Augusta on Monday.

"I was recruited as a candidate," the blog quoted him saying. "They're doing their due diligence to make a decision, and that's what's going on."

Bedden has been in Tempe, Ariz., this week attending an education conference. Although officials with the Irving Independent School District have refused to provide a list of candidates for their superintendent job until a "lone finalist" is named at a Thursday night meeting, The Morning News blog says that acting Superintendent Neil Dugger might also be in the running.

As for the Irving officials' visit to Augusta on Monday, three Richmond County school board members confirmed Tuesday that they had met with three Irving board members Monday to discuss Bedden.

"We were truthful and answered their questions, but we did say we'd like to keep him ourselves," said board member Helen Minchew.

The school board met Tuesday in committees -- one of which dealt with the renewal of Bedden's three-year contract, which is to expire in July. No action was taken.

Minchew said Bedden had asked her to meet with Irving officials. Board members Barbara Pulliam and Jack Padgett also confirmed Tuesday that they were at the Monday meeting. Board president Marion Barnes left Tuesday's committee meetings early, but Minchew confirmed that he met with the Texas officials.

Minchew said she was surprised the Texas officials would travel so far for the meeting, but noted, "When you're good, you're in demand."

Pulliam said Tuesday that she told them: "Yes, we want Dr. Bedden. We told them up front that we want him and we were satisfied with him."

Padgett said he also gave a positive review of Bedden.

"My position is we're very, very happy with him," he said.

Minchew said the Texas officials told local board members that they plan to decide on a new superintendent this week.

Several Richmond County board members said they couldn't discuss specifics about Tuesday's closed-door meeting on Bedden's contract, but Padgett did say negotiations continue. According to Bedden's current contract, the board can only be negotiating a renewal of his contract. His current employment contract says the board must notify him in writing at least six months before its expiration on July 31 if it doesn't intend to renew it. That deadline passed Jan. 31.

In other action

In other action Tuesday, the school board in committee meetings:

- Heard about a new process for schools to use staff and other resources to intervene in the lives of students who have had attendance problems. The idea is to cut down on truancy cases that head to juvenile court by working with students and parents earlier.

- Heard a proposal that could give the superintendent greater flexibility in factoring in a worker's effectiveness and overall job performance in determining work force reductions. Currently, such decisions take into account an employee's tenure with the system.

- Gave tentative approval to spending $504,000 for 72 Promethean boards and related devices for the system's 36 elementary schools and $128,000 for eight netbook carts with 24 computers each for certain elementary schools in need of more computers. A final vote is scheduled for the next full board meeting, on Feb. 16.

Bedden's statement 

(Richmond County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden released this statement late Tuesday night.)

In response to the numerous media inquires, I would like to release the following statement.

First, I would like to thank the board members, teachers, staff and community for the support they have given me as the Superintendent of Schools.  With all of your support, we have made significant progress that includes:

  • Ÿ The percentage of schools making AYP increased to 74% overall
  • Ÿ 90% of our middle schools made AYP
  • Ÿ The percentage of total AYP performance targets met was 94%
  • Ÿ The graduation rate increased by 7 percentage points
  • Ÿ Overall student and employee performance has improved despite the huge reductions in revenue

The discussions related to my contract renewal began almost a year ago.  Given the time and complexity of Superintendent contracts, my attorney advised me prior to the Christmas break that I needed to be open to other opportunities.  I shared with several Board members the advice given to me by my counsel. 

Recently, I was recruited for an opportunity in Texas.  Given the advice of my counsel and acting in the best interest of myself and my family, I responded and submitted my credentials in January.  As part of the selection process, Texas school officials conducted a site visit at the RCSS this past week.

I have received no offers nor made any decisions regarding my future as Superintendent.

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johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 02/10/10 - 06:13 am
0
0
As far as truancy

As far as truancy intervention goes, there are a few rare cases where the parents just take their eyes off the ball for a short while and need a little boost to remember their children. Intervention by the government can help in these situations. For the most part, though, an effort like this will just turn into another government interference program that will become very expensive and very inefficient since it addresses (for the most part) an established behavior that is based on a years long based problem. The schools need to concentrate more on basic education and less on social engineering.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 02/10/10 - 06:17 am
0
0
As far as the Bedden

As far as the Bedden situation goes, when you're good, you're in demand. Bedden is neither overpaid or over appreciated by those that don't understand the workings of life. ***TANSTAAFL*** At this point, the only thing that will keep Bedden in A-RC schools is if he isn't offered the Irving job.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 02/10/10 - 06:54 am
0
0
Let him go! He showed he

Let him go! He showed he can't be trusted because he tried to keep this quiet until he found out if he was hired. Just the message we want to teach our kids. Bedden has done a fair job with what he had to work with but I feel like he is a weasel for the way he is handling this new job in Texas!

OIC
19
Points
OIC 02/10/10 - 07:35 am
0
0
I say let him go to Texas.

I say let him go to Texas. Maybe he will take his Public Safety - Public Information Officer with him. We have plenty of educators in our community that could do this job for less than $100,000. a year. No bonus. No company car.

OIC
19
Points
OIC 02/10/10 - 07:38 am
0
0
Dr. Bedden, Can you help Mr.

Dr. Bedden, Can you help Mr. Russell find a new job too.

Ga Values
27
Points
Ga Values 02/10/10 - 07:45 am
0
0
In education there is a

In education there is a policy called "Pass the trash", looks like that is what we are going to do to Texas.

JustSpeakingMyMind
191
Points
JustSpeakingMyMind 02/10/10 - 07:55 am
0
0
Let him go! Maybe Irving,

Let him go! Maybe Irving, Texas can afford the $200k plus salary that comes along with hiring him. What has he possibly done to deserve that kind of salary in a financially distraught city like Augusta? Don't say that more schools have made AYP than ever under his watch and violence is down in area schools, some of this can be contributed to the educators in the schools who deal with these things daily. Give credit where it is due!

disssman
6
Points
disssman 02/10/10 - 08:14 am
0
0
He knew and the board knew he

He knew and the board knew he was looking for a new job, and yet they approved of sending him to a professional development course in Phoenix? I hope they are smart enough to really write a contract next time that is in favor of the taxpayers and not the employee only. But having watched them I doubt it. Further, I really wonder whether he is so great. If so why does he need a gang of mega-buck deputies? And in conclusion who runs RCBOE, is the people we elect or the person we hire? It seems the elected officials work for Bedden.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 02/10/10 - 08:17 am
0
0
I forgot to say. He has

I forgot to say. He has shown a desire to leave and we should be looking for a replacement right now. No contract renewal for someone who is obviously not happy with his position or the community.

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 02/10/10 - 08:26 am
0
0
Hey Doc, on your way out,

Hey Doc, on your way out, don't let the door knob hit you where the good Lord split you! And take Laney and Josey with you, maybe the Texas Rangers could crack a few skulls and straighten those places out.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 02/10/10 - 08:29 am
0
0
On another subject. Just who

On another subject. Just who are the schools that are to be honored with the Promethian boards and which elementary schools would be allocated the laptop computers? I would suggest they put some computers in the high schools where they forgot to buy them for the Math programs where they also forgot to buy the software. The kids have the question pamphlets but not the rest of the materials and they still have NO text book. Just a tidbit to show how good our super is performing.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 02/10/10 - 08:45 am
0
0
The sad part about this is

The sad part about this is too many people are too "politically correct"..... I want to know why he really wants to leave. What roadblocks has he faced? What isn't working as he expected or assumed it would be? What level of cooperation has he received? Most people don't relocate for a job and leave this quickly - trust me - he has reasons. The questions is, will he be honest or take the PC route upon leaving.

Ben There
56
Points
Ben There 02/10/10 - 08:53 am
0
0
Dr. Bedden has done an

Dr. Bedden has done an excellent job in his short time here and Richmond County would do well to come to terms and negotiate a new contract with him asap!
To begrudge a man a well earned increase in pay for making significant and timely improvements in the educational system of the future leaders and citizens of Richmond County just because times are tough and money is tight is truly cutting off your nose to spite your face.
But this is Richmond County, and unfortunately, that is more often how things work around here than not!

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 02/10/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
dissman, my point

dissman, my point exactly...but it doesn't rest with the super alone, most of the blame lies with ms. venus cain and the remaining inept, short-sighted and selfish school board members. they all have very little interest in education or to improve the process..it's about the consolidation of power and nothing more...to do what needs to be done in order to improve the education process, environment and academic performance would start with closing schools, that would mean a loss of one or more seats on the school board. to improve academic standards would mean enacting meaningful reforms like mandating parental involvement, raising academic standards and instituting a zero tolerance for any student that is disrespectful, disruptive or violent..all this will translate into a significant portion on the student population being expelled or flunking out which in the end dissman would mean a loss of state/federal education funds (due to decreased enrollment) since there is a shortage of school supplies/textbooks could only mean that sufficient monies are not being directed to education...but there always seems to be enuff money to build a new b-ball gymnasium or football stadium for schools that consistantly fail to meet ayp or have high graduation levels..but as the "esteemed" ms. venus cain believes that everything is lovely and fantastic in the shangra-la that is the richmond county school system..you know the schools sytem with the 6th highest percentage of black males dropping out of high school in the entire country and all traditional high schools failed to meet ayp

Mr. Thackeray
868
Points
Mr. Thackeray 02/10/10 - 09:08 am
0
0
Most Texas districts,

Most Texas districts, especially Irvine, is HEAD and SHOULDERS above this substandard district. Even Columbia County cannot hold a candle to Texas districts. Who can blame someone for moving from a educational backwater to a progressive, forward-looking location?

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 02/10/10 - 09:25 am
0
0
He wants to leave! Let others

He wants to leave! Let others deal with him.......................

justus4
99
Points
justus4 02/10/10 - 09:58 am
0
0
This story is a perfect
Unpublished

This story is a perfect example WHY any sane, educated minority citizen MUST depart such a misguided, hypocritical, and biased location. The local printing operation will print, re-print, then give opinions, then LTE, then so-called responses are allowed, then speculation about opinions, then web posting of comments, then local radio spend hrs yapping about it, then board members give their two cents, all based on U know what. (unequal treatment) So here's the question: Why do stories involving minority citizens become daily attractions and repeat over & over, but no new facts are revealed?

themaninthemirror
0
Points
themaninthemirror 02/10/10 - 10:50 am
0
0
Justus4; I have to agree with

Justus4; I have to agree with the last sentence in your 8:58 post. Why isn't the incompetence of Fred Russell when dealing with incompetent employees discussed daily? Would it be different if he too were black?

themaninthemirror
0
Points
themaninthemirror 02/10/10 - 10:56 am
0
0
On a lighter note, I like the

On a lighter note, I like the way Dr. Beden responded as to his interest in the Texas job: "Given the advice of my counsel and acting in the best interest of myself and my family, I responded and submitted my credentials in January. " What man or woman would not consider a job offer if it meant an increase in salary and living conditions, and probably in a state where education is valued more than it is here in Georgia. It seems that education is the first thing on the radar screen when it comes to budget cuts by our current administration.

Riverman1
81459
Points
Riverman1 02/10/10 - 11:59 am
0
0
Remember about two years ago

Remember about two years ago it was discovered Bedden had submitted an application for another job? I read an article about school superintendents and how the tide usually turns against them after about 5 years. It's part of the process. He knows this and rides the wave of goodwill that comes to a new superintendent taking the job after the previous one who has lost public support. There is a honeymoon period of a few years and then the public again begins to ask hard questions such as why are our scores so low, etc.. Few can weather the routine, year after year, tedious work to improve a district while many can bang drums and look good for a couple of years. Being the one able to stick around is a quality few have.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 02/10/10 - 12:06 pm
0
0
People apply for better

People apply for better paying jobs everyday. I don't have a problem with Dr. Bedden submitting his credentials for a position that he was being recruited for. Recruiting means the Irving school system came looking for him; he didn't actively seek them out. He did inform members of the RCSS board about his candidacy. He is under no obligation to tell anyone else. To get a better picture of what I mean, imagine if you were applying for a better paying job. You would probably tell your boss because he/she would be contacted by the other employer. But, you wouldn't tell everyone in your company that you are applying somewhere else. Because Dr. Bedden was hired by the people doesn't mean he has to tell the people about potential future employment. If the people really needed to know that information, then the people should be notified everytime any employee is seeking employment somewhere else, resigns, is terminated, takes a sick day, or goes on vacation. As for not negotiating a new contract, well, just read the last two sentences before In Other Action and you'll know why the board has to make him an offer. The option to not hire him back is no longer available.

AnotherPerspective
0
Points
AnotherPerspective 02/10/10 - 12:09 pm
0
0
I shouldn't be amazed, but I

I shouldn't be amazed, but I continue to be, that folks on here insist on making generic accusations without any specific. When specific accusations are made, often they are patently false. I respect everyone's opinion. I just wish people based their opinions on the facts. It reaffirms my opinion - many commenters here either are uninformed and ill informed or they have a personal agenda (i.e. one of the teachers who didn't get issued a new contract). If you are truly concerned with the truth, seek it out.

themaninthemirror
0
Points
themaninthemirror 02/10/10 - 12:41 pm
0
0
Amen, AnotHerPerspective,

Amen, AnotHerPerspective, tell the truth and the truth shall set you free. I told my boss the truth and he set me free. So I learned one thing, when it comes to employers, sometimes it is best to lie like hell. Other than that tell the truth.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 02/10/10 - 01:27 pm
0
0
Augusta, GA is just no place

Augusta, GA is just no place to be

disssman
6
Points
disssman 02/10/10 - 02:52 pm
0
0
Kingjames are you saying that

Kingjames are you saying that Texas didn't know Bedden was available and they just out of the blue decided to start romancing him? No sir, he knew the position was coming available and he forwarded his name. That is the only way it could happen except in lala land. I doubt they will want him anyway because the person being replaced was dedicated to the community and had been there many many years. And you are right he dosen't have to tell the board about desires to leave, unless his contract was written by someone who knows what they are doing. Yes there are penaltys for firing and the flip side there are penaltys for quitting. Guess which one is in the contract. The question is why would any employee go to a lawyer to see if they can leave or not? In conclusion, I wish the RCBOE would publish the accomplishments rather than the candidate. And now I intend to verify every spot of data he provided.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 02/10/10 - 03:20 pm
0
0
His contract is up this year.

His contract is up this year. He is free to interview and approach whoever he wants, whenever he wants as long as he finishes his contract obligations. Its his life and his choice.

If he stays and Augusta wants him, great. If he doesn't, then Augusta will begin the search again. I don't see what all the hoopla is about. This is just business.

I wonder if his potential replacement will search the AC site to read all the comments about this before they decide to take the position? It will give them some insight as to how they will be received or at least treated on the way out.

Riverman1
81459
Points
Riverman1 02/10/10 - 03:43 pm
0
0
Well, sure he did a good job

Well, sure he did a good job and is free to leave and all that. But he has been looking for quite awhile is the truth. There is a service that furnishes school systems with potential candidates and a name is not on there unless the potential candidate wishes it. Could it be earlier applications by Dr. Bedden led to his name being on various lists? Bedden was developing friendships and getting others to follow his ideas in Richmond County with the thought he would be here and the one in charge for many more years. What about the local Haiti charity he formed with Deke and got many system employees to contribute to while saying he and the foundation would be involved for decades? Silly stuff when he had already applied to leave. Chewing gum, spittle on the chin, Deke, was only too happy to slobber all over that.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 02/10/10 - 03:49 pm
0
0
i agree with you river...the

i agree with you river...the reason why the questions such as low graduation rates/test scores are asked is traced directly back to political correctness that permeates the 10 selfish, inept and ineffective school board. their flat out refusal to mandate parental involvement, support the teachers financially, emotionally or otherwise, to impliment the successful learning model used at johnson/davidson/walker or the "dumbing down" of the curriculum in order to show academic progress and even that being done all traditional high schools still failed to meet ayp..since they are not part of the solution they are part of, if not "ALL OF THE PROBLEM" and should be replaced. this is verified by rewarding dr. bedden with a performance bonus, how can he be rewarded for academic performance when all of the traditional high schools failed to meet ayp and the graduation rates (excluding johnson/davidson) are in the mid-50 percent range

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 02/10/10 - 04:06 pm
0
0
Dissman, Dr. Bedden's

Dissman, Dr. Bedden's statement says he was "recruited for an opportunity in Texas." Dr. Bedden travels and has been a speaker at education conventions, conferences, and workshops. He's already well known outside Augusta. He's a highly visible professional. That means the folks in Texas more than likely knew of him before he came to Augusta, and approached him about applying for the position in Irving. As Helen Minchew said, "When you're good, you're in demand." Also, since Bedden knew his contract was up for negotiation, he would be a fool not to consult his lawyer to inquire about his options. What I really don't understand is why the people that didn't want him to have this job in the first place now think he's wrong for considering leaving. I guess you just can't please some people. As far as the contract, the board is past the deadline for notifying him that it will no longer retain him as the super. They have to negotiate. He still doesn't have to accept. He wouldn't quit before the end of the contract, so there would be nothing lost should he decide to move to Texas. In short, he's running a company. Company managers, directors, VPs, and CEOs move on to bigger companies everyday. There's no difference here. It's a business decision that some should welcome because they never liked Dr. Bedden anyway.

puppydog
227
Points
puppydog 02/10/10 - 05:22 pm
0
0
In spite of the fact that I

In spite of the fact that I think Dr. Bedden has done a wonderful job here in Augusta and I would love for him to stay (my daughter is in the Richmond County school system), I think he should go to Texas if offered the position for his own sake. The petty, ridiculous squabbling among the school board members here is enough to run any competent superintendant off (plus the comments from the citizens of Augusta who are too short-sighted to realize you have to pay for quality). If you have a qualified superintendant who is doing an outstanding job, pay him what he's worth or he will find somewhere else to go that will. Just because everyone else hasn't gotten a raise is irrelevant. They would not be capable to run the school system and if you want someone who is highly qualified running the school system, you have to pay them the going rate or another school system would be happy to. The backwards people here in Augusta even shamed him into not even keeping his well-deserved and well-earned bonus that was part of his compensation package to get him to agree to take the job here in Augusta.The superintendant job is a huge responsibility and it takes an outstanding leader to be able to do it effectively. Run while you can, Dr. Bedden! I don't blame you one bit. When we go back to the status quo we had before with a failing school system, they will wish they had come off their pocket books for a job that is as important as superintendant that affects the whole community, what kind of businesses we can attract & how many people who will want to live here. Paying a competent superintendant can have a direct impact on increasing the tax base (more businesses would locate here; more taxpaying citizens would want to live in RC ).

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