Former Richmond County schools Superintendent Dana Bedden has resigned as superintendent of Irving Independent School District in Texas, where he worked since leaving Augusta in 2010.
The Irving Board of Education reached an agreement on Monday with Bedden through a 6-0 vote that allows the board “to pursue a different philosophical direction for the district,” according to a statement on its Web site.
According to reports from The Dallas Morning News, Bedden will use nearly 60 available leave days and continue to be paid through September on his $248,000 annual salary. The district will pay Bedden a buyout of $261,000 after Sept. 20 on the condition that he has not secured another high-level education job elsewhere.
If Bedden is named as a finalist for a position such as a superintendent or assistant superintendent in another district before Sept. 20, he will lose the buyout, the newspaper reported.
Bedden earned praise in Irving after he was hired in 2010 for his leadership through budget cuts from the state and changes in testing. He also expanded the school district’s existing dual language program, which benefited the majority Hispanic students – 40 percent of whom are English learners.
However, as the makeup of the board members changed through election cycles, support for Bedden waned. The newspaper reported that only one firm Bedden supporter remains on the board. The others blamed him for overspending, low morale, and dissatisfaction with his expansion of the Spanish instruction and overall curriculum.
He was a finalist for the Wake County, N.C., superintendent job in May but did not land the position.
Bedden came to Richmond County in 2007 and has been credited for making the school system more progressive in regards to technology, accountability and student achievement.
Although he said in previous interviews his intention was to remain in Augusta for the long term, Bedden severed ties with Richmond County after a disagreement about performance pay. The board offered a $15,000 supplement contingent on Bedden meeting certain goals. Bedden requested the pay be included in his new contract regardless of performance, along with an additional $15,000 that would be paid once all workers’ furlough cuts were restored, according to previous reports in The Augusta Chronicle.
Bedden said later he was only asking to be compensated with a salary comparable to other superintendents in Georgia.