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Board picks Roberson to lead schools

Chronicle file photo
Dr. Frank Roberson: Aiken County native will become Richmond County's next school chief after a unanimous board vote.
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Dr. Frank Roberson said Tuesday that he was honored by his selection as Richmond County's next school superintendent and hopes to get started by Aug. 23.

Dr. Frank Roberson  Special
Special
Dr. Frank Roberson

Reached by telephone in Washington, D.C., after being tentatively named to the post, he said, "It's just a wonderful humbling experience -- to be able to come back home, to come back to your own community."

Roberson is an Aiken County native and has a home in North Augusta.

He most recently has been the superintendent of Marlboro County School District in Bennettsville, S.C., and was in Washington on Tuesday as part of a five-member team representing South Carolina in its pitch to receive a second round of federal Race to the Top funding.

Roberson said he already has mentioned his candidacy for the Richmond County post to Marlboro County officials, and a transition process would allow him to start in Richmond County this month.

The Richmond County school board unanimously agreed Tuesday to name Roberson as the district's next superintendent, tentative to contract negotiations. Board President Marion Barnes said the hope is that a contract could become ratified by the board by as early as its meeting next Tuesday.

Barnes said he feels Roberson will continue the progress made by Dr. Dana Bedden, who left in June to take a superintendent's job in Irving, Texas.

"That's one of the reasons I voted for him," Barnes said. "He showed us a lot of energy when he interviewed with us."

Board member Barbara Pulliam agreed.

"I think he's going to be very good," she said, adding that she most liked that Roberson is "truly an educator with a hands-on philosophy."

Roberson said Tuesday night that he wants to move the system "to a world-class status." He said his first order of business would be to visit the county's schools.

"The first day, the report to the office will be at the school house," he said.

Roberson was first named last month among a top-three candidate pool that included Dr. Roy "Cole" Pugh, who retired in June as superintendent of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas, and Dr. Faron Hollinger, who retired as superintendent of the Baldwin County Public Schools in Bay Minette, Alabama.

Roberson and Pugh became the top two candidates after Hollinger recently withdrew from the race after being unable to reschedule a second interview with the board that he canceled because of a medical procedure for a severe case of laryngitis.

Roberson is not new to area schools. He served as interim superintendent for Edgefield County, S.C., in 2006-07, according to his résumé. The school board there named him acting superintendent in March 2007, but contract negotiations stalled and he applied for the then-open Aiken County school superintendent's position.

Roberson said that at the time he was up front with the Edgefield County board that he had applied for the Aiken job. He said the holdup in Edgefield came about because he wanted a contract that would have let him leave with 60 days' notice if he was offered the Aiken job. He has said he and the board parted on good terms, and have "a tremendous amount of respect" for one another.

Roberson's résumé says he was an "education consultant/evaluator/entrepreneur" from November 2007 to July 2009 before taking his current superintendent's role in Marlboro County, a system that has 4,800 students. Richmond County has more than 32,000 students.

Roberson most recently was making $135,000, "but I allowed $20,000 of it to be applied to operations given state shortfalls to save teaching positions," he wrote in his application with Richmond County.

Roberson touts education experience dating back to 1979.

In other action

- A committee of the Richmond County school board agreed Tuesday to have staffers examine an idea of starting the school year later in August by 2012. Some administrators said an earlier August start allows for more preparation time for standardized tests, but board member Barbara Pulliam -- who argued the early start is bad because of hot weather -- said setting a goal two years out gives time to develop a solution. Board member Jimmy Atkins suggested the system look into whether instruction days could be lengthened to possibly cut 20 days off the start of the school year.

- Board members heard from a representative of The First Stick Program, which offered grant money to start a lacrosse team at a Richmond County school. The board asked its athletic director to meet with the First Stick official and come back with a recommendation.

- Board members heard an update on a new Butler High School gym recently damaged by flood waters. Board members were told officials are still trying to determine why a downpour caused such flooding and that the incident is still being investigated.

Comments (84) Add comment
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Riverman1
87116
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Riverman1 08/10/10 - 04:02 pm
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Let me be the first to

Let me be the first to congratulate you, Dr. Roberson. I was pulling for you. Good luck with your difficult task.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/10/10 - 04:09 pm
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I'm shocked.......lol.

I'm shocked.......lol.

iLove
626
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iLove 08/10/10 - 04:09 pm
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Yay! Congratulations!
Unpublished

Yay! Congratulations!

Lorraine
140
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Lorraine 08/10/10 - 04:39 pm
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Congratualtions Dr. Roberson!

Congratualtions Dr. Roberson! Welcome to Richmond County school system.

curly123053
4969
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curly123053 08/10/10 - 04:43 pm
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He did very well here with

He did very well here with his duties with the Aiken County School District and I am sure he will do a fine job for Richmond County. Good luck Dr. Roberson.

nofrills
0
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nofrills 08/10/10 - 04:57 pm
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Curly, How can you say he did

Curly, How can you say he did good in Aiken? Did you have to deal with him when he was in Area 5? You must of forgot the problems he caused the schools in Area 5? If you were a parent who had a kid in a little trouble like being late or horse playing etc... He would treat it like it was a capital offense. Didnt care what the parents had to say or do. He refused to work with the parents of Silver Bluff so I say to Augusta, Good Luck on your choice. A year from now I will be the one saying I told you so!

bettyboop
7
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bettyboop 08/10/10 - 04:57 pm
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Surprise!..?

Surprise!..?

dickworth1
954
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dickworth1 08/10/10 - 05:11 pm
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Gee, I' rteally surprise at
Unpublished

Gee, I' rteally surprise at the selection, another great move by the school
board.

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 08/10/10 - 05:15 pm
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Once again Richmond County

Once again Richmond County shows what it is all about - exactly why I moved out of there. I can bet the other guy pulled out of the running because he knew he didn't have a snowballs chance in Hades.

follower
59
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follower 08/10/10 - 05:31 pm
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OK baron, that was funny. You

OK baron, that was funny. You made me laugh as I end the day.

willie7
986
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willie7 08/10/10 - 05:36 pm
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Congratulations Dr.
Unpublished

Congratulations Dr. Roberson!!!Looking forward to you leading the School System forward.

Southern_Patriot
0
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Southern_Patriot 08/10/10 - 06:02 pm
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oh well, some people never

oh well, some people never learn

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 08/10/10 - 06:05 pm
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WHAT A SHOCKER! See my post

WHAT A SHOCKER! See my post from Wednesday, Jul. 28 1:20 AM.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 08/10/10 - 06:07 pm
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I love how they didn't link

I love how they didn't link to the July 28 story also. We could all see this coming. http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/education/2010-07-28/richmond-countys-...

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 08/10/10 - 06:14 pm
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one good thing about him is

one good thing about him is his "no nonesense" approach, maybe just maybe he is someone who is willing to do what is necessary to make all the schools conducive to the educations process...even if it means expelling all those who are disruptive, disrespectful, violent, involved in gangs and those who just doen't want to ,r not intrested in learning or getting an education..that should be about 30-40% of the total student population.

justus4
107
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justus4 08/10/10 - 06:15 pm
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This was the appropriate
Unpublished

This was the appropriate choice, but the challenges ahead for this guy will start immediately. He's gotta get a communication expert first, and then get a strong grasp of the personalities of support personnel. Next, fire someone to demonstrate strong leadership and establish a policy of inter-office communication restrictions. Again, a good choice but expect an ambush at any time. Good Luck!

scoopdedoop64
2425
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scoopdedoop64 08/10/10 - 06:40 pm
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I have no reason to doubt

I have no reason to doubt that Mr. Roberson will be a fine superintendent. But I have a question that is going to get me punched from every direction. Given that at least the last 3 people that filled this position are African-American, is that a qualification for this job. I am really just wondering considering that this is what I have seen. Ok, everyone hit me with your best shot. I will even get you started, " you're so racist...."

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 08/10/10 - 06:50 pm
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Thank you Scoop, my

Thank you Scoop, my sentiments exactly! Kinda makes one wonder who voted on the candidate, by race? If Mr. Roberson is the most qualified, and showed the most potential for the position, then more power to him. However, I would like to see your question answered without all the prejudices.

dichotomy
34493
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dichotomy 08/10/10 - 07:05 pm
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Another big surprise from the

Another big surprise from the most discriminating, and I mean that just like it sounds, school board in America. Even the District of Columbia hires and oriental American or something every once in a while. And she is kicking butt, taking names, and making a difference. Of course that's not what you guys want is it? You would rather keep the status quo as long as the color scheme matches. That's okay RC school board. I know it's hard to find a qualified white guy......especially when you aren't really looking for one. If you were a federal or state manager you would be successfully sued for pattern discrimination. The products of our school system reflect the wisdom of your past, and present, decisions.

momster59
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momster59 08/10/10 - 07:20 pm
0
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Congratulations Dr.

Congratulations Dr. Roberson!
Having worked with Dr. Roberson, I will say he was chosen because he is the best man for the job. RC needs a no nonsense superintendent who, going by his past record, will restore discipline in the schools and stand up to the thugs and gang members.

scoopdedoop64
2425
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scoopdedoop64 08/10/10 - 07:25 pm
0
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Please let me add my

Please let me add my congradulations to Dr. Roberson and wishing him nothing but success. If he succeeds then our children succeed and we all win. I really do believe that and I hope my question earlier does not take away from that. I have seen the situation reversed many times and the same question asked. Anyway, I hope he is able to stay longer than our last one.

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 08/10/10 - 07:27 pm
0
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I don't know how many of you

I don't know how many of you are locals and know this, but for years RC had one of the best superintendents in the state, if not the country working in their system. He ran the CC system for years, with expansion and rising scores while keeping the per-pupil cost significantly below RC's . . . right up until the election that forced him to put a party label behind his name. Unfortunately, that label was the scarlet letter 'D,' which stands for dead in Columbia County. I doubt he was ever considered; he is melanin-deficient.

mybaskett
231
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mybaskett 08/10/10 - 07:29 pm
0
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Has Columbia County ever had

Has Columbia County ever had a superintendent of another race? I'm Just asking. But back to the topic. I like the guy already. Kicking kids out of school for not following rules. Sounds like a great idea.

lsmith
105
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lsmith 08/10/10 - 07:41 pm
0
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Goooolleeeeeeeee,
Unpublished

Goooolleeeeeeeee, surrrpriiiise, surrrpriiise surrrpriise! I knew it Andy.....
Was there EVER any doubt about who was going to get this job? You couldn't have gotten any odds on this even in Vegas! If the national superintendent of year had wanted this job, he wouldn't have gotten it unless he had the right.......er........uh.........hair style........Well, you knowhattamean?

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 08/10/10 - 07:49 pm
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Ummmm, no, MyB. They also

Ummmm, no, MyB. They also have not had to buy out any of their contracts, none of them left office under a cloud, none of them hired a PR flack to run interference. But they did manage to build at least one school, usually two, every year for a burgeoning population fleeing RC, kept the scores up. While none of them thought of the scam to run two essentially private schools with the county's money to make their system look better, the system still looks pretty good overall, in terms of the state and even national standards. As a resident, I much prefer we hire by that criterion --best for the job-- rather than some ersatz diversity standard. I mean, how's that working for RC?

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 08/10/10 - 07:56 pm
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Good luck to RC. But here's a
Unpublished

Good luck to RC. But here's a prediction. 2011-2012-2013-2014
Laney tanks, student scores drop, and costs per student go up.
The next Richmond County School Board workshop is held somewhere in the Bahamas at a drastically reduced, thoroughly shopped and much prayed about rate, however breakfast in bed was prudently left out of the package due to taxpayer concerns.

mybaskett
231
Points
mybaskett 08/10/10 - 08:02 pm
0
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dstewartsr, my child attends

dstewartsr, my child attends DFA. RC works for me !!!!!!!!!

AGR354
7
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AGR354 08/10/10 - 08:05 pm
0
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Great Choice. Good luck Dr.

Great Choice. Good luck Dr. Frank and welcome back home. Please let the media know how to pronouce your last name

lsmith
105
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lsmith 08/10/10 - 08:08 pm
0
0
zambu_glenlivet: Gosh I love
Unpublished

zambu_glenlivet: Gosh I love that scotch! Pass me one will ya.
Got news for you. I graduated from Richmond County School System 40 years ago when it was a solid system. I moved to Columbia County in 1979, and have never looked back. My kids never had to be exposed to Richmond County educational processes and I'm thankful for that. However, I do keep an eye on my old alma mater and wish it could be what it once was. I root for it constantly, but don't mind throwing a vocal grenade when I see it continue to wallow in the mire and make the same mistakes over and over again.

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 08/10/10 - 08:16 pm
0
0
Just as long as he doesn't go

Just as long as he doesn't go to Tonethia Beasley's son next birthday party or to a club her cousin's man owns...then we will be alright...fairness is what I am looking for in a leader...Congrats Dr. Roberson

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