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Richmond County school board votes to open search for new schools chief

Richmond County Superintendent Frank Roberson won't reapply for job

Monday, March 24, 2014 9:35 PM
Last updated Tuesday, March 25, 2014 9:57 AM
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The Richmond County Board of Education voted Monday to launch a search for a new schools chief who will take office when Superintendent Frank Roberson’s contract expires in August.

Frank Roberson has been superintendent of Richmond County schools since 2010.  SARA CALDWELL/FILE
SARA CALDWELL/FILE
Frank Roberson has been superintendent of Richmond County schools since 2010.

Roberson said he will not reapply for the job, saying that board members electing to open a search rather than extend his current contract hints at their intentions.

However, he said his mission as an educator will not stop.

“There’s a lot in me to do the work of educating children,” Roberson said after the called meeting. “That’s my passion. There’s too much in me to stop now. I’ll have to survey my options, but I do know this: I will continue to provide quality schooling for children somewhere.”

The motion to open a search passed 8-1 after board members spent more than two hours in a closed-door executive session. Board member Patsy Scott voted no, and Marion Barnes was absent. Scott and other board members declined to comment about their decisions.

Roberson was hired in 2010 on a three-year, $170,000 per-year contract, and with a background in school reform, was largely seen as a savior who could rescue the struggling system.

He fell ill six months later with complications from an abnormal clustering of blood vessels on the brain, known as arteriovenous malformation, and had emergency brain surgery.

He was absent for nearly 19 months, returning on a part-time basis in December 2011, and full time in September 2012. Roberson said doctors told his family after his surgery that he would never walk, talk or possibly see again.

The board waited two days before Roberson’s contract was set to expire in August to address his employment, voting 6-4 to extend the contract for one year, rather than renew it for another three.

The vote Monday gives the board time to open a nationwide search for a new leader, which will fall at a time when many superintendent contracts are ending across the country.

Roberson is eligible to reapply for the position along with other candidates, but he said his reading of the vote encouraged him otherwise.

“I’m not criticizing the board, I’m just looking clearly at the action,” he said.

Comments (29) Add comment
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Pops
10387
Points
Pops 03/24/14 - 09:59 pm
4
7
Yawn....

time for another overpaid hire....uh....I mean savior......

countyman
20581
Points
countyman 03/24/14 - 10:15 pm
9
9
Great job RCBOE!!

The RCBOE must conduct a national search and please don't hire anybody local(CSRA). A young dynamic candidate under the age of 45 would be the ideal choice. Let's focus on creating new ideas and bringing some fresh air into Augusta. The person should come from a much bigger city or somewhere with at least 250,000 people. The RCBOE did the right thing, because of the uncertainty in regards to Dr. Roberson's health. The Richmond County system is the largest in the CSRA and the superintendent has to be available 24/7.. The city of Augusta is growing much faster this decade and the next superintendent is very important.

Truth Matters
7139
Points
Truth Matters 03/24/14 - 10:19 pm
13
1
I am saddened to see this

I am saddened to see this play out this way. I think the BOE made the decision they believed to be in the best interest of the students, parents and community.

Dr. Roberson gets credit for not re-applying and allowing the system to move forward without any undue drama his application might cause.

Good luck, sir.

dichotomy
34348
Points
dichotomy 03/24/14 - 10:37 pm
8
3
I am flabbergasted. The BOE

I am flabbergasted. The BOE made me eat my words and actually did the right thing.

My compliments to the BOE. You made the right choice. You are a year late but you finally made it.

Butterman
3682
Points
Butterman 03/24/14 - 10:57 pm
7
5
long overdue
Unpublished

dont hire anyone local? Actually the best guy for the job is local and has been doing much of the work already.

jb1968ga
38
Points
jb1968ga 03/25/14 - 02:05 am
8
2
Time for a winner

How many losers do we have to suffer through until the board can get it right? Maybe this school board will have the guts to do something the last few boards haven't ... hire the best man or woman for the job regardless of race. Good start.

avidreader
3377
Points
avidreader 03/25/14 - 05:21 am
12
1
A Good Man!

Dr. R., you're a good man. You tried hard! Good luck in your future endeavors.

Riverman1
86847
Points
Riverman1 03/25/14 - 05:54 am
6
3
It's a tough job

It's a tough job and talented candidates realize that.

Graymare
3370
Points
Graymare 03/25/14 - 05:57 am
15
0
Tough break

Y'all don't be too rough on the man. Dr. Roberson had a tough break when he fell ill. It could have happened to any of us. He never really had the opportunity to perform to his full potential. I wish him all the best.

corgimom
33997
Points
corgimom 03/25/14 - 07:05 am
6
10
He should've done the decent

He should've done the decent thing and resigned when it was clear that his health issues had a deep impact on his performance.

He tried to come back, which is admirable, but just wasn't able to.

corgimom
33997
Points
corgimom 03/25/14 - 07:06 am
3
10
RCBOE is too broke to hire

RCBOE is too broke to hire anybody decent, they are going to try to hire somebody and pay them as little as possible- and you get what you pay for.

seenitB4
90670
Points
seenitB4 03/25/14 - 07:14 am
8
2
ctyman??

What is this with your hire young & from some place else attitude...age brings wisdom & Richmond cty needs that for sure....
Good luck to Mr R.....smart move to just move on sir.

nocnoc
44829
Points
nocnoc 03/25/14 - 07:19 am
5
1
I feel bad for the guy

The RCBOE has been extremely understanding in this matter, but the school system must have a Superintendent operating at 100% 24/7.

But, it is not about being understanding about his medical issues, because we have a school system to run.

BTW:
The vote was 8 to 1 with Patsy Scott voting NO, and Marion Barnes being conveniently absent for a major vote.

Was this a protest, and/or a political move?

But, both declined to comment, WHY?

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 03/25/14 - 07:45 am
6
0
"Dr. Roberson gets credit for
Unpublished

"Dr. Roberson gets credit for not re-applying and allowing the system to move forward without any undue drama his application might cause."
TM, I agree. It is a shame about his illness. I believe he was a smart and good man.

Riverman1
86847
Points
Riverman1 03/25/14 - 07:47 am
11
2
Remember This?

Anybody remember the controversy with the BOE when Charles Larke was hired? They were deadlocked along racial lines for weeks. They went to retreats trying to work things out. Finally, one white lady BOE member said she felt it was time to end the controversy and went with Larke along with all the blacks. What a disaster he was and he will be collecting a mega retirement for decades.

curly123053
4904
Points
curly123053 03/25/14 - 07:50 am
10
2
Good Luck !

Having known Dr Roberson when I worked for Aiken County I know of his true passion for education. I felt really bad about his illness stopping and slowing him down because I knew he was not the type to have to slow down for anything. That being said I feel like the BOE did the right thing if Dr Roberson has been unable to devote 100% to his duties. I am sure he can still contribute in the education field, but not in that capacity. I wish him luck and wish the BOE success in finding a good leader.

corgimom
33997
Points
corgimom 03/25/14 - 08:12 am
4
4
"The person should come from

"The person should come from a much bigger city or somewhere with at least 250,000 people."

And they would come to Augusta for- what?

So they could take a pay cut? Who would do that?

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 03/25/14 - 09:01 am
0
0
The TRUTH about Dr. R's hiring will set you free. Medical cost.
Unpublished

The TRUTH about Dr. R's hiring will set you free. Medical cost.

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 03/25/14 - 09:02 am
0
0
People change jobs just to have their medical bills paid. TRUTH.
Unpublished

People change jobs just to have their medical bills paid. TRUTH.

Truth Matters
7139
Points
Truth Matters 03/25/14 - 09:34 am
2
3
"BTW: The vote was 8 to 1

"BTW:
The vote was 8 to 1 with Patsy Scott voting NO, and Marion Barnes being conveniently absent for a major vote.

Was this a protest, and/or a political move?"

If you agree with the outcome, and it appears all commenters here do, why look for some nefarious motive? Sometimes people just don't seem satisfied no matter what.

noxiousfumes
468
Points
noxiousfumes 03/25/14 - 09:42 am
5
3
I think the board

was trying not to be cutthroat by firing Dr. Roberson while he was fighting to recover. Extending his contract for a year gave him time to get things in order and gave them time to evaluate whether or not he would be able to continue as superintendent. Had he not gotten ill, he would have changed a lot of the culture of our school system, but we will never know about that now. He is truly a medical miracle, but is not the same man that took the job. I truly wish him well.

As far as young, out-of-town person, did we forget about Dana Bedden? How did that work out for ya? Stayed long enough to pad his resume and used it to move to Texas (that wasn't the only job he applied for - reminds me of Azziz, but I digress). They weren't as nice as us, and kicked him out before his contract was up (bought out his last year). We need someone local that understands the unique dynamics of Richmond County and has the courage to bump heads and the vision to move our district forward.

MrClen1944
255
Points
MrClen1944 03/25/14 - 10:19 am
2
4
The drama in Richmond Co

The drama in Richmond Co continues.

countyman
20581
Points
countyman 03/25/14 - 10:57 am
4
3
Non Local

''What is this with your hire young & from some place else attitude...age brings wisdom & Richmond cty needs that for sure....
Good luck to Mr R.....smart move to just move on sir.''

The city of Augusta desperately needs to hire somebody from outside the metro. The majority of the people on the commission and school board are over the age of 50. Where is all this wisdom? The problem now revolves around trust, because they only interact with each other at work. A younger candidate is more likely to associate with other races outside work.

''We need someone local that understands the unique dynamics of Richmond County and has the courage to bump heads and the vision to move our district forward.''

What unique dynamics? The country is full of urban school districts and many of them are much larger than Richmond.. Please bring in somebody from a much larger city.

jimmymac
42870
Points
jimmymac 03/25/14 - 11:21 am
1
0
SUPER
Unpublished

Maybe the next superintendent will improve on testing scores. The whole school system needs overhauled not just at the top.

showboat
346
Points
showboat 03/25/14 - 11:44 am
0
0
Will you people tell me what
Unpublished

Will you people tell me what is wrong with a local person getting this job? most you are locals and got a job, what if the company had said we are not going to hire local people, then would you have a job. Mr. Spivey will do a great job. Bring in someone from a large city what a joke. Most of the comments are comeing from people that hasn't work in education.

Sweet son
10729
Points
Sweet son 03/25/14 - 11:44 am
4
3
Question: Don't hire a local candidate? Answer: Why not.

Columbia County has an exemplary school system that has continued to be excellent with in-house Superintendents. Why not in Richmond?

I hope the RCBOE has some in-house candidates and that they don't just blow them off because they live here. The pot of gold might just be within the ranks.

sand gnat
568
Points
sand gnat 03/25/14 - 11:58 am
4
2
Turn back the hands of time

It's time to go back to electing the county school superintendent, just like we do with the sheriff.

Fiat_Lux
15901
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/25/14 - 01:21 pm
3
2
Two words:

Tim Spivey.

triscuit
3153
Points
triscuit 03/25/14 - 01:59 pm
4
2
Tim Spivey should be the

Tim Spivey should be the obvious choice. Only problem is he is white, which will keep him from being the quick shoo-in. And that is sad to say but this is RCBOE...nepotism/racial preference at it's best. Why can't a white lead a predominantly black school district? Could a valid, and legal argument be made if a candidate was black and the district predominantly white? So we will spend a lot of money, which we don't have, and a lot of time trying to find a black savior for this abysmal system.

showboat
346
Points
showboat 03/25/14 - 02:52 pm
0
0
THIS JOB SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT
Unpublished

THIS JOB SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT BLACK AND WHITE, BUT WHO IS BEST FIT TO DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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