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Public calls for local candidate as new Richmond County superintendent

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A sparse yet vocal crowd of concerned residents and former and current teachers attended a public forum Monday night to express what they'd like to see in a new Richmond County schools superintendent.

Retired Principal Calvin Holland Sr. speaks about the qualities he believes the board should look for in a new superintendent. Holland and others addressed the school board Monday night.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Retired Principal Calvin Holland Sr. speaks about the qualities he believes the board should look for in a new superintendent. Holland and others addressed the school board Monday night.

Several said they wanted someone community-minded, and a couple of people asked that a local person be considered.

"We should look at someone already in the district, in house," said Cleveland O'Steen, who teaches at a private school in Richmond County.

O'Steen told Richmond County school board members and a representative of the Georgia School Boards Association, which is overseeing the search, that a local person would have "a deep-hearted commitment" to the district.

Shirley Darby agreed.

"I'd like to see a superintendent from Richmond County, from this area, who has a vested interest in this community," she said.

Darby added that she would be opposed to anyone who might try to change the school calendar to a four-day school week.

Juanita Burney, of the Rollins Area Neighborhood Association, said she's looking for someone who will again allow her organization to hold meetings at Rollins Elementary. She said her group had been told "by the current administration" that they could no longer meet there because of the cost of heat and air conditioning during meetings.

Burney said that her group has done a lot for the school and that "when there's a presence there's ownership."

"I would hope that any new superintendent would understand neighborhoods need schools and schools need neighborhoods," she said.

Former Augusta Commissioner Calvin Holland Sr. also attended as a concerned citizen and member of a newly formed local group that's assisting teachers.

"We're looking for someone who is going to set the bar high," he said, adding that it should be someone who would push for higher test scores, be visible in the community and keep more graduates from leaving the area.

Bill Sampson, an official with the school boards association, told the crowd that the public comments would be compiled with an earlier online survey and given to the school board for consideration.

He said May 28 is the deadline for applications, and the school board could begin interviews as early as June.

Board attorney Pete Fletcher said that as of Friday about nine applications had been received.

Current Superintendent Dana Bedden has accepted a position as head of the school district in Irving, Texas, starting in July.

Comments (23) Add comment
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jb1234
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jb1234 05/04/10 - 09:40 am
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I don't really think that 4

I don't really think that 4 or 5 people wanting something constitutes saying that the entire 'public' wants that same thing too, just a thought...

Whyisit01
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Whyisit01 05/04/10 - 09:54 am
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jb1234 tell that to Boehner,

jb1234 tell that to Boehner, McConnell and all those republicans who was going around EVERYWHERE saying the American people. I for one know it must only be REPUBLICAN American who didn't want Health Care from the party of NO.

KingJames
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KingJames 05/04/10 - 10:20 am
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The most qualified person

The most qualified person should be selected for the position. Folks who want a super with local ties should consider that maybe, just maybe no one from the area is qualified. Or, if they are qualified, they might not want the headaches involved with working with people from Augusta.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 10:20 am
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Funny how so many people on

Funny how so many people on here complain about the superintendent, but where were they last night? I guess if they had to show their faces in public their agendas would be clear.

KingJames
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KingJames 05/04/10 - 10:21 am
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And though I agree with

And though I agree with jb1234, I can say that this group was concerned enough to show up and voice their opinions.

J.W.
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J.W. 05/04/10 - 10:39 am
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Yep...local person chosen

Yep...local person chosen from within is really what you need...NOT! Go about selecting a new school superintendent just like you did when Dr. Bedden was selected. If there are locals who want to apply, then they can do so. The students deserve the best superintendent possible. Whether you liked Dr. Bedden or not, he did more to turn the RC school system around than anyone before him. Best thing was that he wasn't a local person and therefore could more effectively make the tough calls needed to move the school system forward.

J.W.
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J.W. 05/04/10 - 10:41 am
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Whysit....drank the purple

Whysit....drank the purple cool aid did you?

cleanup
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cleanup 05/04/10 - 11:00 am
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JW, Bedden did NOT do

JW, Bedden did NOT do anything to turn schools around. He only created and fostered animosity, and fooled the public (including you). We DO need a local person that actually cares about the students and the community, unlike the fool that's headed to Texas.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 11:07 am
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Cleanup, according to the

Cleanup, according to the GOSA, graduation rates went up and test scores went up, and, according to the GDOE, discipline problems went down. What are we missing? And, were you there to voice your concerns last night?

cleanup
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cleanup 05/04/10 - 11:12 am
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Insider, bull. And, if you

Insider, bull. And, if you think they really care what people think or say, you are even less informed than you've already shown.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 11:16 am
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First off, statistics don't

First off, statistics don't lie.
Secondly, what evidence do you have that the board doesn't care?
It's great that you're so concerned about the school system, but I don't understand why you don't get involved to make things better.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 11:52 am
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Thanks for the name-calling.

Thanks for the name-calling. As for me, I'll stick to the facts.

cleanup
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cleanup 05/04/10 - 11:54 am
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You have no facts.

You have no facts.

KingJames
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KingJames 05/04/10 - 12:17 pm
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Cleanup, I'm not trying to

Cleanup, I'm not trying to get into your argument with Insider (it certainly isn't a discussion anymore), but I would like to know why you no longer teach. Did you retire or did you get tired? I'm just trying to understand your perspective. If you retired, then your perspective is probably very different from someone who gave up teaching for some other reason after having only done it for a few years. I'm really not trying to be sarcastic or anything like that. I just want to understand your view a little more.

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 05/04/10 - 12:36 pm
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Some attendees had good

Some attendees had good ideas, but I question the input of some of the others. "Opposed to anyone who might try to change the school calendar to a four-day school week" ??? "Looking for someone who will again allow her organization to hold (Neighborhood Association) meetings at Rollins Elementary" ??? I also remember how the the "Coach" did when he was my District 5 Commissioner.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 12:53 pm
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I don't mean to argue, but I

I don't mean to argue, but I get tired of people making wild accusations (which could be true), but then not backing up their statements with anything factual. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. There's a difference between an opinion and accusing someone of serious wrongdoings in an anonymous forum.

jb1234
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jb1234 05/04/10 - 01:00 pm
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Cleanup, to me it sounds like

Cleanup, to me it sounds like you're a just a disgruntled ex-employee of the RC school system, and that you're mad because everything wasn't done your way...

KingJames
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KingJames 05/04/10 - 01:25 pm
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Insider, I know exactly what

Insider, I know exactly what you mean. Jb1234, I truly hope that's not the case with Cleanup. Actually, that's the reason I asked why thy no longer teach. Cleanup might be too involved with the school system to be objective. I don't know that to be true, but that's just my guess.

corgimom
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corgimom 05/04/10 - 01:50 pm
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"Cleanup, according to the

"Cleanup, according to the GOSA, graduation rates went up and test scores went up, and, according to the GDOE, discipline problems went down. What are we missing? "

That data is very easy to manipulate. Don't believe all that you read. All the REPORTED discipline problems went down. Discipline problems went down? How many school districts do you know that discipline problems DECREASED, in this day and age?

If graduation rates are up, and discipline problems are down, then why are the EOG test scores so poor, and why did RC fail AYP?

Look around you, when you go out in public. Are children better behaved, or worse behaved, than 5 years ago?

Insider Information
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 03:01 pm
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Corgimom, are you accusing

Corgimom, are you accusing the superintendent of falsifying official government records? The superintendent is required by law to certify this data befor submitting it to the state.
Richmond County didn't make AYP, and neither did Columbia County or most school systems of any significant size.

sassylassie
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sassylassie 05/04/10 - 10:44 pm
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I knew I could count on

I knew I could count on Corgimom to tell it like it is.

I am curious to know if Insider has ever worked for RCBOE?

There is a lot that goes on inside RCBOE that many do not know about, and you wouldn't know unless you work there.

For thought: for example, the principals submit discipline info to the superintendent, then it goes to the state. So, Bedden doesn't really have any idea how many discipline incidents go unreported or are swept under the rug at the school level. He just signs off on what he is GIVEN. And yes, some data is skewed based on what the super doesn't WANT reported.

In certain circumstances, there are guidelines for what is reported with data, including AYP information. Some schools make AYP in some areas (you can have 3-4 subcategories or as many as 14 or 15) or make it in all EXCEPT, say, the special needs category, therefore your school doesn't make AYP and your school is thus deemed to be in "needs improvement".

Just some extra info to put out there for perusal.

thewiz0oz
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thewiz0oz 05/05/10 - 09:17 pm
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When you are 30,000 feet in

When you are 30,000 feet in the air flying on an airplane do you want a pilot who is well trained, skilled and have a proven record of safe flying or do you want your buddy next door behind the wheel on his first flight? Sorry, I choose experience over personality. Running the Richmond County School system is not for a novice.

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