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