Education

More News | |

Interim Richmond County schools chief won't seek top job

  • Follow Education

The soon-to-be interim superintendent of Richmond County schools, Dr. James Whitson, says he wants to continue moving the district forward this summer, but he won't seek to fill the job on a long-term basis.

Back | Next
Dr. James Whitson will become the interim superintendent when Dr. Dana Bedden leaves June 18.  Zach Boyden-Holmes
Zach Boyden-Holmes
Dr. James Whitson will become the interim superintendent when Dr. Dana Bedden leaves June 18.

"I have chosen not to apply," he said Friday in a conference room at the school system's headquarters.

The deputy superintendent, who has been with the district since July 1, said his decision is twofold.

"One is if I did not get the job, I wouldn't want the new superintendent to wonder am I going to be on board," he said.

The second reason is he feels the district needs a new leader who will be able to at least spend five years in the job, something the 61-year-old can't guarantee.

"I want to do the right thing for Richmond County. I want us to succeed, and it just seemed unfair to me (to apply) not knowing I could stay five years," he said.

Whitson said he is looking forward to filling the gap as interim superintendent between the departure of Superintendent Dana Bedden on June 18 and when a new leader is chosen.

"We're going to go forward," Whitson said of the interim role, noting that it will be a busy summer and whoever is chosen as the next superintendent will need to hit the ground running.

Whitson said he doesn't expect his interim role to last long, and board members have said they could have a superintendent as early as July or August.

In the meantime, Whitson said he will work to enhance student learning and focus on preparing the district for another tough financial year, knowing more state budget cuts could come by December.

He said he's also looking at how to address the likelihood that furloughs next school year could do away with all staff development days for teachers.

"We just can't stop and say we'll wait until a new superintendent comes in and tells us where to go," he said.

For Whitson, the interim position comes after 40 years of working in education -- many in the Greenville, S.C., area with a school district about 30,000 students larger than Richmond County's.

Whitson was born in Virginia but lived most of his life in Greenville, working there as a teacher for five years, assistant principal for 61/2 years, principal for 131/2 years and in staff development for five years. In 2001, he retired in South Carolina, but since then has served as an adjunct professor at Clemson University and a professor at Georgia Southern University. He was assistant superintendent in Douglas County, Ga., and Sumter County, Ga., before coming to Augusta.

Whitson said Augusta has been a good fit, partly because it's closer to his mother, who lives in Anderson, S.C., and his son, who lives in Greenville.

"I enjoy Augusta," he said. "I'm not a small-town kind of guy."

When it comes to the school system, he said, "I want us to be in the best position we can be in."

Comments (15) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 05/31/10 - 01:14 am
0
0
Makes me wonder.

Makes me wonder.

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 05/31/10 - 01:23 am
0
0
Can't blame him.....We should

Can't blame him.....We should have done all we could to have kept Dr. Bedden who has greatly improved this system while reducing millions from the budget.

justus4
117
Points
justus4 05/31/10 - 05:49 am
0
0
Have U ever heard "I'm
Unpublished

Have U ever heard "I'm leaving office to spend more time with my family" or the ole "If elected, I will remain your (U fill in the blank) and not run for president" and everyone knows at the time that the individual is not being truthful. In this case, here is what's important: will this guy's salary increase? It's cleverly avoided in the article. And will he sign a Memo of Agreement to, let's say, keep everything straight. Boy, do these folk really think we're that dumb...

disssman
6
Points
disssman 05/31/10 - 06:57 am
0
0
Ay least this guy has some

Ay least this guy has some teaching experience, which the super was sorely lacking. ASITIS just what did Bedded do (other than hire a spokesman) that was so great? And remember that a 1to2 point increase in some areas isn't a mark of greatness nor is doing the job you were hired to do a sign of excellence. Bottom line what is different with the school board than say 3 years ago?

usafvet
3
Points
usafvet 05/31/10 - 06:58 am
0
0
Dr. Whitson has probably been

Dr. Whitson has probably been an observant employee and community citizen. Because of political correctness, affirmative action, and the mentality of our local government, a white candidate is not on even ground. There has been far too much racial manipulating on all positions in this community since the day charles walker was allowed to have so much say in consolidation.

Ayetidiosi
2
Points
Ayetidiosi 05/31/10 - 07:10 am
0
0
By declining to be

By declining to be considered, Dr Whitson has proven himself overqualified for the superintendent position. So many functional brain cells is not what the RCBOE is looking for.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 05/31/10 - 07:32 am
0
0
I don't blame him for not

I don't blame him for not wanting the job. Why would anyone want this job? Take the comments being made here today for example. We have claims of racism, U know who's usual silly inuendo, no appreciation for the work done or to be done and complete ignorance of the situation. Under Dr. Bedden, graduation rates have increasd and test scores have gone up all while enduring major financial cuts year after year. And, I'm sure someone will claim that those stats are made up or have been faked. The first stage is always denial.

cleanup
0
Points
cleanup 05/31/10 - 08:16 am
0
0
Actually, "reverse racism" is

Actually, "reverse racism" is alive and well in RCBOE, and well documented (see cases won, taxpayers lose). And, appreciation for Bedden?! Hahahahaha! Bedden is still a lying joke, and we should throw a parade the day after he's gone.

bettyboop
8
Points
bettyboop 05/31/10 - 08:39 am
0
0
LOL....Dr.Whitson you are a

LOL....Dr.Whitson you are a very smart man...you would have been Crucified by those that run the show there......

isaidit
0
Points
isaidit 05/31/10 - 12:07 pm
0
0
Translation: "No and thank

Translation: "No and thank you, but the duties and responsibilities required for that position would directly conflict with my personal strategy plan of accepting and depositing the temporary increased salary into my account and not get involved in ANY way with needed, propossed or suggested improvements or changes, no matter the degree of ergency, while inherent flaws in RCBOE's status quo continue, AS I RIDE OUT the rest of my GRAVY TRAIN days, undetected, unblameable, STRESS FREE, rewarded and glorified for my superb inaction skills and ability to keep a seat warm for the NEXT GUY to be criticized for ANY and ALL changes! I appreciate the money, your support and kind words, but I have no delusions of grandeur nor a desire or a reason good enough, to start earning my keep now, particularly, AT THIS STAGE OF MY CRIUSE to stop cruising now! So again, NO and thankyou, but RCBOE operations will continue to function in the exact same manner Dr Bedden leaves it, w/o deviation or recommendations from me. Now please, cease immediately any further discussion or rally calls for me to step into the position permanently.....the attention it garners only serves in exposing my years of ineffectiveness as 2nd in command and an obvious waste of taxpayer money on me. Now my dear friends and blind supporters, I bid you adue and happy trails to you"..........."UNTIL you need an interim AGAIN!" Call me.

Austin Rhodes
3070
Points
Austin Rhodes 05/31/10 - 09:18 am
0
0
Hey JUSTUS4...you are 100%

Hey JUSTUS4...you are 100% right!
The last guy who said he didn't want the job...would NOT apply for it...was only interim because he was "doing us a favor" and could not fathom wanting it permanently...was Dr. Charles Larke.

We all see how well THAT turned out.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 05/31/10 - 09:46 am
0
0
cleanup, can you actually

cleanup, can you actually cite a single lie? Or, are you just going to continue making baseless accusations? If you had any evidence to support your claims, I would support you.
As for the reverse racism, that was under Dr. Larke. Can you cite a single lawsuit filed and won against Dr. Bedden?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 05/31/10 - 09:49 am
0
0
Dear Prospective

Dear Prospective Superintendent,
Please keep an open mind and an open door. Be open to criticism and open to community input. But when it comes to anonymous comments, please ignore them and understand that people who hide their names also hide their agendas.

cleanup
0
Points
cleanup 05/31/10 - 12:17 pm
0
0
Insider, I have plenty of

Insider, I have plenty of evidence, and plenty of personal experience. Believe me, I don't want or need your support. Also, do you think that all of the reverse racism, and the racists, left at the same time Larke did? Get real. Insider?! Please.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 05/31/10 - 01:06 pm
0
0
Thanks for continuing to

Thanks for continuing to prove my point for me. I appreciate the favor.

lylagirl
1
Points
lylagirl 05/31/10 - 09:54 pm
0
0
Boy... all of this hostility

Boy... all of this hostility about who did what, who, where and why...who cares..the only concern should be the students of RCSS. This ego thing must stop if we are to experience the revitalization of our county. I respect Dr. Whitson for admitting that he cannot commit to our county and not use us as a stepping stone. People ...let's get back to what RCSS school system really stands for...educating productive citizens into our society....

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Funding for homeless down slightly

Federal funding for local homeless programs decreased by $552 this year compared to 2014, which community leaders hope to offset in the future by expanding the city's homeless count into south ...
Search Augusta jobs