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The year in review: Richmond County Superintendent Frank Roberson's illness put many plans on hold

Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Superintendent Frank Roberson has been on medical leave since February, when he underwent emergency brain surgery for an arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal clustering of blood vessels on the brain.
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Frank Roberson’s return to work as Richmond County schools superintendent Dec. 7 marked the latest chapter in a story that was one of the area’s biggest in 2011.

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In his first official event since February, Frank Roberson spoke at the Teacher of the Year Banquet in November.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
In his first official event since February, Frank Roberson spoke at the Teacher of the Year Banquet in November.

Roberson had been out since February, when he underwent emergency brain surgery for an arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal clustering of blood vessels on the brain. His absence left a void in a school system that failed to meet many of the goals Roberson had set when he was hired in August 2010.

“I think the school system desperately needs its leadership at this point,” school board Chairman Alex Howard said. “(Deputy Superintendent James Whitson) is stretched very thin, and we need to move forward with the school system.”

When his medical leave began, many of Roberson’s plans to reform the district were put on hold. Only one school has incorporated a magnet program this year, although Roberson had pledged to increase the number of magnet students, now about 2,000, to “well over 10,000” within five years.

Roberson also wanted 44 of the district’s 55 schools to meet federal “adequate yearly progress” standards in the 2010-11 academic year, which would have been an increase from the 27 schools that made it one year earlier.

According to results released in November, only 25 schools made the benchmarks, two fewer than last year and 19 below Roberson’s goal. Those benchmarks increased in 2011, making it harder for all schools and districts across Georgia to make AYP.

Roberson is scheduled to work only a couple of hours each day during the transitional period, with his duties mostly consisting of participating in calendar events, such as staff and cabinet meetings. A final evaluation on Roberson’s work readiness by his doctors isn’t expected for several months.

ABOUT THE SERIES

The Augusta Chronicle looks back at the big stories of 2011.

SATURDAY: The Augusta State men’s golf team showed its 2010 national title wasn’t a fluke.

SUNDAY: Lady Antebellum didn’t forget its local ties.

MONDAY: The Augusta Judicial Center and John H. Ruffin Jr. Courthouse, the Kroc Center and Costco opened.

TUESDAY: City Administrator Fred Russell managed to survive controversy.

TODAY: Richmond County school Superintendent Frank Roberson missed the first half of the school year after emergency brain surgery.

THURSDAY: Suspensions and retirements of top officials made for an eventful year at the Augusta Fire Department.

FRIDAY: Former Columbia County Commissioner Scott Dean was convicted of child molestation.

SATURDAY: Two area law enforcement officers – Richmond County sheriff’s Deputy James D. Paugh and Aiken Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson – were killed in the line of duty.

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eb97
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eb97 12/27/11 - 03:47 pm
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Why didn't the Board and

Why didn't the Board and others carry on with his goals? You would think, they would have done whatever it took to see the success that Mr. Roberson was looking to achieve for the school system and it's students. I believe they let him and our students down.

Little Lamb
49247
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Little Lamb 12/27/11 - 04:01 pm
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The "magnet programs" goal is

The "magnet programs" goal is controversial, EB. Many on the board are not comfortable with it. Roberson would have had trouble getting the board to give him the blank check he wanted for magnets.

Likewise, even with Roberson in full health, they were never going to achieve his AYP goal.

The best thing that Richmond County BOE could do is expand the Alternative School program by at least five times and make it very difficult for a student to get out of Alternative School once they get sent there. Then remove all students in Alternative School from the statistics involved in AYP. That way, the AYP goals have a chance of being met.

raul
5778
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raul 12/27/11 - 11:41 pm
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It's time to move on. Dr.

It's time to move on. Dr. Roberson needs to step aside. Participating in calendar events and the uncertainty of a favorable ready to work medical evaluation in several months mandates action now rather than a continued school system in limbo. Nothing personal, I wish Dr. Roberson the best.

drivenslow
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drivenslow 12/28/11 - 11:58 am
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this gentlemen has very
Unpublished

this gentlemen has very severe damage to his brain...the media and the family have downplayed how bad it really is this man can no longer function at the cognitive level needed to be superintendent and this isnt opinion

Riverman1
94246
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Riverman1 12/29/11 - 07:32 pm
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I've got a question.

I've got a question. Apparently school system employees, including BOE members can purchase certain things from the school system. Who monitors these purchases and if they don't pay for something, what happens?

Riverman1
94246
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Riverman1 12/30/11 - 01:35 pm
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My question about school

My question about school system employees and BOE members purchasing things from schools and not paying the bill also applies to Columbia County.

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