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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.

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dichotomy
32190
Points
dichotomy 08/10/10 - 08:17 pm
0
0
"This was the appropriate

"This was the appropriate choice"
Why? Does appropriate mean best qualified or black?

", but the challenges ahead for this guy will start immediately."
After the last two superintendents and the test scores, you bet.

"He's gotta get a communication expert first"
Huh? Why, is he communication challenged? Maybe the ex-fire chief's communication mistress is still available.

"and then get a strong grasp of the personalities of support personnel."
He had better get a strong grasp of the qualifications and capabilities of his personnel. Damn the personalities.

"Next, fire someone to demonstrate strong leadership"
Huh? Preferably a white someone I guess. He could fire the 50% of the teachers that were "redistributed" from Laney. Now THAT would show some leadership.

"and establish a policy of inter-office communication restrictions."
Should he restrict communications before or after he hires the communications expert?

"Again, a good choice but expect an ambush at any time."
Again, WHY is he a good choice. And nobody needs to ambush someone who will probably self-inflict a wound.

jff
0
Points
jff 08/10/10 - 08:26 pm
0
0
we need some new blood in

we need some new blood in columbia county,we need a leader for the teachers.

countyman
19754
Points
countyman 08/10/10 - 08:39 pm
0
0
There has never been a black

There has never been a black superintendent in Columbia County... I'm not certain there's been one in Aiken County before... I've never heard the people bringing up race today, complain when the person is always a white man....

Most of the superintendents in RC have been white men.. Who cares if the last three were black men..... In Aug/RC the mayor and sheriff are white and the superintendent and mayor pro tem are black...... When will america ever get over race the issue??

All of the three official cities in Richmond county... Augusta, Hephzibah(the real city limits south of Willis Foreman rd), and Blythe are mostly controlled by white men....

dani
12
Points
dani 08/10/10 - 08:50 pm
0
0
As noted a few days ago,

As noted a few days ago, history keeps repeating itself.

Cassandrablake
0
Points
Cassandrablake 08/10/10 - 09:04 pm
0
0
Fire someone to demonstrate

Fire someone to demonstrate strong leadership?

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 08/10/10 - 09:23 pm
0
0
How is he more qualified than

How is he more qualified than someone who has been a super for 7 different systems in his 30 so years and his last gig had 16,000 plus students compared to this guys 4,800 or so students??? Am I missing something here??

athome
79
Points
athome 08/10/10 - 09:32 pm
0
0
Hey NOFRILLS: I once heard

Hey NOFRILLS: I once heard an administrator say to a parent group discussing discipline "You all want discipline until it comes to your own children." Personally, I want the rules to apply equally to all students. Congratulations Dr. Roberson. Glad you are back close to home!

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 08/10/10 - 10:07 pm
0
0
Congratulations, Dr.

Congratulations, Dr. Roberson. I hope you do well considering you probably aren't used to three things that will surely come with this job: roughly 27,200 more students than you're used to (many of whom will have disciplinary problems), an additional $192 million in your budget, and a general population of parents and other residents who simply won't like you for whatever reason (some will plainly come out and say it's because you're Black). Personally, none of the candidates stood out to me as an obvious choice for superintendent. I thought the new superintendent should have more experience, but not be ready to retire or be brought out of retirement for the job. Good luck, Dr. Roberson. You're going to need it. Oh yeah, get used to the three things that I mentioned earlier because they will come up time after time after time. I really do wish you well, but wouldn't blame you if you do as Bedden and leave at the end of your first contract. Look at all the comments above mine and you'll know exactly what I mean.

sassygirl352
0
Points
sassygirl352 08/10/10 - 10:30 pm
0
0
man i feel so sorry for him.

man i feel so sorry for him. maybe the whiny people of richmond county will be happy with this man. if not then pull your kids out and home school them. i hope we dont hear negative comments about him like we did the last two. it gets really old people

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 08/10/10 - 10:56 pm
0
0
"Dr. Frank Roberson will be

"Dr. Frank Roberson will be the next school superintendent for Richmond County, tentative to contract negotiations." - I would have thought that the requirements of the position and the terms of the contract would have been stipulated in the original job announcement.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/10/10 - 11:30 pm
0
0
nowhine - and just how many

nowhine - and just how many black superintendents has CC and AC had? Quit race-baiting, I've worked under Dr. Roberson and I believe he's an amazing administrator. His qualifications got him the job, unanimous vote from the board all races.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 08/11/10 - 12:12 am
0
0
Hey sassygirl352, How am I

Hey sassygirl352, How am I racist? I merely said the same thing you just said with a little bit of what Dr. Roberson can expect from the people of Augusta. Who am I racist against? My saying it didn't really matter who was chosen because all the finalists' qualifications lacked in some way or another is my opinion. I would have chosen someone with more experience than Dr. Roberson. I also would have chosen someone who had not just come out of retirement to apply for this job as Dr. Pugh and Dr. Hollinger did. Nothing against retirees, but if you've retired once, you're probably going to do it again at your earliest convenience. For any of the candidates to be viable, to me they would have had to have had substantial experience in a district comparable in size and budget to Richmond County, and have not entertained the idea of retirement. That's not racist. I did wish the man well, and even told him from one Black man to another Black man what to expect from the people of Augusta. How is that racist? Yes, I said I'm a Black man!

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 08/11/10 - 03:14 am
0
0
justus4 I thought the job was
Unpublished

justus4 I thought the job was going to you know who for you know what reasons??? Why the change of tone?

aureliusdios
0
Points
aureliusdios 08/11/10 - 06:02 am
0
0
It had to be that new reverse

It had to be that new reverse discrimination thing!

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 08/11/10 - 06:11 am
0
0
momster59, you live in a

momster59, you live in a world of make believe. Frank as I call him should give up working at schools and run for office of the NAACP. His politics reflected this when he was running Area 5. I am so glad he left Aiken County. One last feather in your hat! He is all about money and shifting the blame away from him. The only reason he gave up twenty grand of his check was to keep his own job till he found better but with him there is no loyality to your county school system and he will only stay till he can find better. So with that said I will sit back and watch as he ruins Augusta schools and we will talk about this next year at this time.

cristinadh
6
Points
cristinadh 08/11/10 - 06:45 am
0
0
Congratulations !! First

Congratulations !! First order of business.. Start the school year later on in August !!! please!! it's too hot outside still and it just doesn't make sense to start the year so early!!

bentman
455
Points
bentman 08/11/10 - 07:08 am
0
0
We get the culls.

We get the culls.

Mr. Thackeray
896
Points
Mr. Thackeray 08/11/10 - 07:49 am
0
0
Okay, my 2 cents coming. He

Okay, my 2 cents coming. He is coming from a district of 4,800 =/- students. Good God, I taught in high schools bigger than that. How is is possibly going to transition to 15,000 + kids. The staff alone will be overwhelming. Large district management should have been a top requirement and it obviously was not.

Good luck, you're gonna need it!

ispy4u
0
Points
ispy4u 08/11/10 - 07:50 am
0
0
SCOOP, please ask Columbia

SCOOP, please ask Columbia County if being " White" a condition of being appointed Superintendent there? I don't think you are a racist. Not that it matter. lol

ispy4u
0
Points
ispy4u 08/11/10 - 08:01 am
0
0
Amazing!!!! Still stuck in

Amazing!!!! Still stuck in the 20's. Whenever a person of color is appointed to any position, the Naysayers come out of the woods. But let it be one that looks like them, then he must be the best choice. The part that has me rolling of the floor is, that the majority of those questioning his qualifications, could not hold the position of manure collection.

to tell the truth1
123
Points
to tell the truth1 08/11/10 - 08:07 am
0
0
Zambu, you hit the nail right

Zambu, you hit the nail right on the head. This section should be called the RACISTS RANTS!!!

iLove
626
Points
iLove 08/11/10 - 08:28 am
0
0
"All of the three official
Unpublished

"All of the three official cities in Richmond county... Augusta, Hephzibah(the real city limits south of Willis Foreman rd), and Blythe are mostly controlled by white men...."

Great point countryman!

hardtobelieve
1
Points
hardtobelieve 08/11/10 - 08:35 am
0
0
Many of you are always

Many of you are always stating the horrible state of Richmond County schools, however very few (both parents and citizens) are doing anything to assist in its improvement. Parental and community involvement, which includes our time and finances, is what will fix the system.

curly123053
4570
Points
curly123053 08/11/10 - 08:41 am
0
0
Nofrills, my kids attended

Nofrills, my kids attended South Aiken and I personally met him on multiple occasions during school activities and he was very personable. My kids never had discipline problems but I know that he was known to being a discplinarian. Fortuantely I never had to deal with him on those issues, but now a days you need someone who will not take a lot of bull off students and parents as well. I am not aware of the deal with Area 5 but I don't think I was hearing the whole story.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 08/11/10 - 08:47 am
0
0
Two things we didn't see as

Two things we didn't see as taxpayers. One was the actual ad posting the job and its requirements. Two was the resumes of the candidates and their responses. Did anyone out there in radio land see either of these documents?

disssman
6
Points
disssman 08/11/10 - 08:50 am
0
0
I almost forgot. The guy is

I almost forgot. The guy is really out of a job, lives in North Augusta and is hoping his schedule will allow him a chance to assume the position in 2 weeks. Yeah, he is a hard charger. Again, what did the ad state about a start date?

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 08/11/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
For the most part when bedden

For the most part when bedden first came to RC he was worshipped as the savior of the schools...remember?...folks on here and elsewhere were willing to believe all the rhetoric....so it is easy to see why folks are a bit skittish about this new Gentleman...white or black he has a lot to prove and because the last two have been black and dismal failures folks have a right to question his abilities above his skin color.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/11/10 - 08:58 am
0
0
montega - just for you I will

montega - just for you I will rerun my post from yesterday evening.
Just how many black superintendents has CC and AC had? Quit race-baiting, I've worked under Dr. Roberson and I believe he's an amazing administrator. His qualifications got him the job, unanimous vote from the board all races.

By the way, you used the incorrect cast of you. It should be the contraction you're as in you are, not your as in you possess it.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 08/11/10 - 09:15 am
0
0
momster59: Columbia County
Unpublished

momster59: Columbia County has had NO black Superintendents. Our School Board is not held hostage to affirmative action mentality and hires based upon qualifications. Everyone knows it's an unwritten rule that RC's superintendent will always be black, I honestly don't even know why white candidates even bother to apply other than the board feels they need to put on a public show of casting a wider net.
Roberson doesn't have the experience to run a system as large and troubled as Richmond County. His prior experience of handling a volume of students and budget would hardly amount to two Columbia County schools alone.
We will see, but I think Roberson will not find Richmond County School System as the place he retires from.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/11/10 - 09:20 am
0
0
lsmith - Columbia County has

lsmith - Columbia County has had NO black Superintendents.

Thank you for making my point. I have no problem with who the superintendent of CC schools is. I do have a problem with all the race-baiting that has gone one concerning RC schools. Some might take Montega et.al. statement of "wow another black guess if your (sic) white need not apply" and switch the colors around and apply it to other systems. No one seems to have a problem with all the other major systems in the area having all white administration.

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