Different directions

School board opts for new leadership; superintendent still is man on a mission

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Frank G. Roberson was the right man for the job when he was hired to oversee the Richmond County School System in 2010.

At the end of this school year, the two are parting ways.

On Monday, the Richmond County Board of Education voted to let Dr. Roberson’s contract expire in August as the board launches a search for a new schools chief.

Board members who cast the 8-1 vote declined to comment on how they arrived at their decision.

Just six months after being named superintendent, Dr. Roberson suffered from arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal clustering of blood vessels on the brain. Emergency surgery at Georgia Regents Health System saved his life.

He spent the next 19 months recovering, returning to work part time in December 2011 and full time in September 2012. The school board was beyond patient and compassionate in keeping Dr. Roberson on as long as it did.

Now it appears Augusta will never know just how far Dr. Roberson could channel his recovery into improving Richmond County schools. While he is eligible to reapply for his job, he has chosen not to.

But he’s also choosing to continue his work as an educator.

“There’s a lot in me to do the work of educating children,” Dr. Roberson told The Chronicle after Monday’s 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.”

He started that mission in 1979 in nearby Ridge Spring, S.C., teaching American history. We sincerely hope he shares his deep commitment to education far into the future.

Dr. Roberson, you see, gets it.

As superintendent, he refocused local discussion from fretting about SAT scores to concentrating on pupils’ best interests. He knows that not every kid is cut out for four years of college, and he sent the message throughout the school district that kids shouldn’t be pushed toward that end. Don’t set up kids for failure when they can thrive elsewhere.

Dr. Roberson also imparted a passion for parental involvement, knowing that is a crucial key to student success.

Dr. Roberson has started moving Richmond County schools in a positive direction. It’s up to the next superintendent to seize on that momentum.

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Riverman1 03/26/14 - 07:00 am
Difficult Job

The Richmond County Superintendent has a difficult job. The demographics are poor students and the political division and pressure is enormous. It's too bad Dr. Roberson fell ill because he possessed that certain gentlemanly characteristic that overcame much of the rude politics the BOE has more than once displayed

Young Fred
Young Fred 03/26/14 - 11:30 am
The RCBofE will strive to

The RCBofE will strive to find a dynamic leader to fulfill its mission of insuring all students achieve at the highest level of academic standards currently in place (i.e. the PC police sitting on the board will insure the replacement "looks" right foremost over all other concerns).

Considering that many Richmond County schools are almost on par with Haiti right after the 2010 earthquake, it will take a miracle worker to improve (I should say substantially improve) what we have now.

willie7 03/26/14 - 11:40 am
Thank you Mike Ryan for a

Thank you Mike Ryan for a beautiful tribute to a good and decent man, Frank Roberson.
I regret immensely that he became ill during his tenure---
I do sincerely believe he would have improved the schools over a period of time.
I do hope we can get another superintendent of his caliber and decency.

Sweet son
Sweet son 03/26/14 - 12:00 pm
Improve the Richmond County school system?

Mission Impossible!

Weak administration, principals, teachers and students is just a recipe for mediocrity.

Darby 03/26/14 - 12:20 pm
Let's just keep talking our schools to death

with no intention of doing anything more than giving the kids a threshold education with a heavy dose of political and social indoctrination.

Does anyone really think that it makes any difference who the superintendent is when control is really coming from Washington?

I know I don't!

Truth Matters
Truth Matters 03/26/14 - 03:33 pm
@Sweet Son I have to wonder

@Sweet Son

I have to wonder when you last interacted with a RCBOE member, principal, or teacher. I have had the good fortune to work with many principals and teachers in this system whom I consider outstanding.

Constructive criticism is always in order, but this constant demeaning of a whole system and its employees because of some who are less than stellar is so unfair. A school system is no different than any other place of work. There are those who get by with doing the very minimum that is required, and there are those who go the extra mile.

For once it would be refreshing to read a comment that accentuates the positive achievements of students in Richmond County. If you don't know any, ask someone.

Darby 03/27/14 - 05:15 pm
"Constructive criticism is always in order,

but this constant demeaning of a whole system and its employees because of some who are less than stellar is so unfair."

Right! Demean the system for the right reason. The end product (the graduate) is far from satisfactory.

In a free market system, such shoddy work would result in firings across the board. Trouble is, the failure of the system is built into said system and as long as we have a nationally run operation rather than 50 separate and distinct programs, we will continue to lag behind. And many of those nations we trail are third world players.

Competition is needed and we will never get that when all states are reading from the same script.

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