Board selects superintendent

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Dana Bedden, a suburban Philadelphia superintendent with ties to the South, will be Richmond County's next school superintendent if he and the school board can agree to a contract.

<B>Dr. Dana Bedden</B><br> <B>Age</B>: 40<br> <B>Family</B>: Wife and three children<br> <B>Current Position</B>: Superintendent of William Penn schools in Lansdowne, Penn.<br> <B>Education</B>: Bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science from the University of Florida, master's degree in educational administration from Penn State University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech<br> <B>Experience</B>: 17 years as an educator<br>  Special
Special
Dr. Dana Bedden
Age: 40
Family: Wife and three children
Current Position: Superintendent of William Penn schools in Lansdowne, Penn.
Education: Bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science from the University of Florida, master's degree in educational administration from Penn State University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech
Experience: 17 years as an educator

The board picked Dr. Bedden from a group of three finalists Wednesday, bringing to a close a 10-month search to replace Charles Larke.

"One thing that attracted me to him is that he listens to everybody. He listens to teachers, administrators down to the custodians," said Alex Howard, who made the motion to pursue Dr. Bedden.

Mr. Howard said the board's pick is someone fiscally responsible, experienced and energetic.

Dr. Bedden, 40, is the superintendent of the William Penn School District in suburban Philadelphia. That school system has only 5,500 students, but he previously served as the regional superintendent in Philadelphia and was responsible for 200,000 students.

Board member Marion Barnes said he is "aggressive" and showed an interest in student achievement and making date-driven decisions.

While Mr. Barnes and Mr. Howard liked his youth, board President Jimmy Atkins favored his experience.

The board voted 9-1, with Mr. Atkins being the lone vote against him. The board took a second vote immediately to show that all 10 members support Dr. Bedden.

"I think he has the experience for it, but I know he doesn't have as much experience as Susan Clark," Mr. Atkins said.

Dr. Clark is the assistant superintendent of Henry County Public Schools. She and Dr. Shirley Carraway, the superintendent of Orange County schools in Hillsborough, N.C., were the other two finalists.

Dr. Bedden said on the phone Wednesday that he is excited and eager to "get things squared away." Once he does, it will be a balancing act between gathering information and taking action.

One of the first things he plans to do is meet with various groups to hear their likes and dislikes about the school system and identify common issues, he said.

"I don't want puppets around me," he said. "The superintendent is only going to be as successful as the people around him."

He cited his experience in improving a nontraditional high school in Washington, D.C., a school system he called "broken." The 100-year-old high school building was crumbling, yet as principal he improved SAT scores by 32 points.

Students can achieve if they are expected to achieve, Dr. Bedden said.

He led the William Penn school system to make adequate yearly progress for the first time since the 2001 passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Although the board selected Dr. Bedden, nothing will be final until a contract is approved.

The board authorized attorney Pete Fletcher to enter into negotiations and report back no later than the board's July 19 business meeting.

The contract won't be anything like that for Dr. Larke, Mr. Howard said. The former superintendent's contract sparked debate when A.K. Hasan, a board member at the time, began questioning what he saw as a "rollover" clause and large financial perks.

Mr. Howard wants a contract with financial incentives that are performance-based.

The board is shooting for Dr. Bedden to be on the job by Aug. 1.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

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wcr250
71
Points
wcr250 06/28/07 - 03:27 am
0
0
Is there anyone who thought a

Is there anyone who thought a white christian republican would be selected?What a surprise.get ready for another whopping contract with your tax money.

bigbert9980
0
Points
bigbert9980 06/28/07 - 03:57 am
0
0
you sound racist and

you sound racist and judgemental what does that have to do with the job, no matter if they are a white christian republican or black democrat or vice versa. He seems like an very experienced educated person I wish him the best and Congradulations!

patriciathomas
43
Points
patriciathomas 06/28/07 - 04:31 am
0
0
While Dr.Bedden seems like a

While Dr.Bedden seems like a good choice, I do worry about who chose him. I sure hope he has higher standards then Larke. Wouldn't it be nice to see RC schools approach the naitonal average for achievement.

Jenn30907
0
Points
Jenn30907 06/28/07 - 05:33 am
0
0
I would like to see his

I would like to see his resume. Yesterday's breaking news noted himas having 4 jobs in the past 8 years. I'd like to know his thoughts on what to do with kids that don't want to learn and disrupt the kids that do.

RegWmsATL
0
Points
RegWmsATL 06/28/07 - 06:04 am
0
0
Here's wishing Dr. Bedden all

Here's wishing Dr. Bedden all the luck in the world, but even if he is the best educator in the world, and even if over night the Augusta Board of Education and it's teachers become the best in the world, the children in the system won't do better until more children come to school prepared to learn. The children in the system won't do better until more parents are held accountable for the conduct of their children. Parents must also reduce the amount of time their children spend watching TV and playing video games. Until these things happen, the school system will be nothing more than a big day care center.The key to better performance does not begin on Broad Street - it begins in the homes of Richmond County.

philsreel
33
Points
philsreel 06/28/07 - 06:22 am
0
0
White Christian

White Christian Republican??Are you serious!?Say it Loud!! Dr.Bedden is BLACK and he is PROUD!!!

lepavilion
0
Points
lepavilion 06/28/07 - 06:23 am
0
0
BigBert, congraDulations?????

BigBert,
congraDulations???????

kudzo-n-roses
2
Points
kudzo-n-roses 06/28/07 - 06:40 am
0
0
four jobs in eight years

four jobs in eight years sounds bad....looks like he spends just enough time for folks to figure him out....sorry but after Larke I do not trust anyone.

curly123053
5930
Points
curly123053 06/28/07 - 06:46 am
0
0
This should NOT be a BLACK

This should NOT be a BLACK and WHITE decision, but a decision for improving a broken system. Dr. Bedden appears to have what it takes to bring some honor to the school system and we should give him the benefit of trying. I wish him luck.

LMS2005
0
Points
LMS2005 06/28/07 - 07:01 am
0
0
I agree with curly - the

I agree with curly - the color of his skin should not the decision maker. He is young seems energetic and has new ideas. Maybe he has had 4 jobs in 8 years because he gets in there does what needs to be done and moves on the next "trouble" spot. I wish him and his family all the best in Augusta.............

chriskaren38
0
Points
chriskaren38 06/28/07 - 07:01 am
0
0
i hope he make something out

i hope he make something out of this school system thing need to be done to it. we need teacher that want to teach. maybe he can get students to really want to go to school and make something of themself.

marien
29
Points
marien 06/28/07 - 07:08 am
0
0
No Matter who is choosen

No Matter who is choosen everyone is not happy, but I do wish Dr. Bedden all the sucess in the world with this challenging group of people he has to work with. I hope that this is a new day for parents, children, teachers, and board members to all work togather. I have two sons that have graduated from the Richmond county school system who has pursue higher education and become sucessful and two that are still in high school in Columbia county and yes it is up to each parent to handle there children to see that they are held accountable for their performances.

justwant2know
0
Points
justwant2know 06/28/07 - 07:15 am
0
0
We are all on the outside

We are all on the outside looking in...we need to get away from this being a black and white issue and trust the members of the school board (the ones we elected)...we were not at the interviews, we don't know what questions were asked or how they were answered...OneOfTheFramers I agree with you, it begins at home, we as parents need to stop believing that our child does no wrong once they are out of our sight...we are sendng them to school to get an education and not to be the class clown.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 06/28/07 - 07:28 am
0
0
I'm a white Christian
Unpublished

I'm a white Christian republican and if Dr. Bedden puts forth his best efforts to improve Richmond County schools, I like him. Dr. Bedden won't be Jesus and save the RCBOE all by himself and it is important for people to understand that. We will know if he is doing his job. And I don't care if he has had 8 jobs in the past 8 years, we don't know the circumstances. We all know good, hardworking people who bounce from job to job. I say give him a chance to prove his character.

kudzo-n-roses
2
Points
kudzo-n-roses 06/28/07 - 07:30 am
0
0
After the last comical board

After the last comical board meeting ???? You want to trust these clowns in picking a super??? What are you nuts !!??!!
You want to trust these clowns after they threw out the baby with the bath water in the Larke issue??? come on the RCSB is out there to help a few black men become a little wealthier at the expense of their children.........very sad.

J.W.
2
Points
J.W. 06/28/07 - 07:33 am
0
0
Finally! Now let's move on

Finally! Now let's move on with the real business of the Richmond County School System--Education of the young people sitting the classrooms. I hope Dr. Bedden is up to the task and will come in, take charge, and move out with his plan. And you--school board members--you are a part of this as well. You chose the new leader, now get behind him and help him achieve what is needed. If he does the job he needs to do, there will be some unhappy campers in the current system, you as board members will be who they call, sooo...man up! board members and do what we put you in office for. Look out for the students well being. Let the deadwood go!

xqwbv2
3
Points
xqwbv2 06/28/07 - 07:39 am
0
0
Regardless of his race, I

Regardless of his race, I hope he can help lift the Richmond County School System. He will have to make very bold moves and decisions in order to make the fundamental changes required so that all of the county's children can succeed. And when I say "all," I mean ALL. The better the education for every child, no matter race or socioeconomic status, the better Augusta-Richmond County will be--less crime, better job opportunities, etc.

redapples
712
Points
redapples 06/28/07 - 07:46 am
0
0
Some people just seem to lose

Some people just seem to lose sight of the real issue, and it isn't the Supt's skin color. We, as a collective group of people, decided in the 60's that wasn't to be an issue anymore, remember? My hope is that he can lead RC out of the education pit it is currently in by motivating, students, parents, teachers and staff members to pull it all together for the children of RC. We should all be very scared of the state of public education as it currently exists in RC.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 06/28/07 - 07:55 am
0
0
The balance of Black and

The balance of Black and White power is restored. All is at peace in "Never Land" (-:

NEone
6
Points
NEone 06/28/07 - 08:03 am
0
0
I'm sure Dr. Bedden is

I'm sure Dr. Bedden is reading this. At least he will know what he's getting into. Why is race even an issue on anyone's postings? I don't get it. Let him come here and do his job. Then decide if the Board made a good choice. After reading the above comments, I think he is crazy to accept this new assignment.

ladyelect82
0
Points
ladyelect82 06/28/07 - 08:05 am
0
0
Okay, it has been proven that

Okay, it has been proven that Richmond County has a problem and from the comments that are being posted doesn't seem like it will be fixed any time soon. The issues are not black or white, democrat or republican. It's about the children. But apparently you don't think so. That's why there is such a problem throughout Richmond County because of the ignorant person who made the first comment. I hope you find a perfect world that includes all of those things you said but until then you're stuck with the rest of us wcr250.

drlove30906
0
Points
drlove30906 06/28/07 - 08:16 am
0
0
hollygolightly, are you

hollygolightly, are you saying it will take someone of the European persuasion to correct the education issue in Richmond County?

lboogie618
3
Points
lboogie618 06/28/07 - 08:22 am
0
0
Richmond county and Georgia

Richmond county and Georgia school period have some real problems. I have a child with special needs but the teachers are not able to provide what he needs. They feel as if it take too much of their time to make sure he is on track. And , yes I do my part at home and with a tutor.Last year my child was rezoned to a new school after a month of conduct reports that had to do with his disability, I call his teach I asked her if she had seen his IEP, she told me that she didn't know he had one. How absurd! If she had taken the time to get to know my child she would have understood why he forgot to remove the papers from the top of his desk,thus losing 5 point for conduct. His IEP states that he needs constant reminders and assurance that he has heard the directions given. It was unfair to him and to the teacher to not know what she what dealing with. How can you go a month and not a least read the child's file, if only briefly , to know a little something about him?

NANF
4
Points
NANF 06/28/07 - 08:27 am
0
0
Dr. Bedden has no idea what

Dr. Bedden has no idea what he's getting in to. As they say, " Bless his Heart". He will have to leave his whole being behind him. He will now be ruled by Augusta politics and any new ideas he has or changes will only be tolerated if his changes place a spot light on the boss board members or selected politicos. Augusta will never tolerate a man with brains enough to do what is really needed. Dr. Bedden, you are over qualified for these nincompoops. Good Luck sir, you will need it and a thinck skin.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 06/28/07 - 08:35 am
0
0
HOLLYGOLIGHTLY, Whether it

HOLLYGOLIGHTLY, Whether it lightly or hard, JUST GO. It the mentality of people like you, that keep this town fighting with eachother. It is sad when you read a headline and know that some ignorant AZZ, is going to make it about race.

cparker
89
Points
cparker 06/28/07 - 08:43 am
0
0
This has been my complaint

This has been my complaint about the postings for a long time. I am concerned that Augusta is filled with racist. Just read the postings and the picture should get clearer. Augusta does not have to have a white superentent to be successful. Just because Dr. Bedden is black does not mean the Augusta community is lining a black man's pockets or giving him an underserved chance. We don't know Dr. Bedden leadership ability because he has not started yet, but yet many are critical of him simply on the basis of color and I have a problem with such bigotry.

looking4change
0
Points
looking4change 06/28/07 - 08:54 am
0
0
WCR250 you're a racist! And

WCR250 you're a racist! And no it never crossed anyone's mind, except for your little pee headed brain, that race didn't play a role in choosing him.

KingJames
11
Points
KingJames 06/28/07 - 09:03 am
0
0
Race is always an issue to

Race is always an issue to the ignorant. Just because the person selected to be the new super is another black male doesn't mean history will repeat itself. Why do you all keep bringing up Charles Larke? Board members should have learned something about contracts by now and probably won't grant as many perks and incentives as before. The most qualified candidate was selected. If you have a problem with those making the selection, then by all means vote them out. Don't persecute Dr. Bedden before his first day on the job. Many of you are reassigning your anger over issues with Dr. Larke to an innocent man. Get over it, and welcome the new super. This reminds me of the comments about Flash Gordon heading up the JB Arena. Many of you initially said he would fail without giving him a chance. Now, he is trying to move the arena into a new direction, and many of your comments about his performance have changed. My question is, why rake someone over the coals for not being a "white christian republican" before they even have a chance to prove themselves. Why compare him to Larke instead of looking at his accomplishments? How ignorant!

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
Points
Da Voice Inside Your Head 06/28/07 - 09:10 am
0
0
Once bitten twice shy. I

Once bitten twice shy. I think thats part of some peoples problem with the choice made by the BOE. But I could care less if he's green with purple spots. As long as he can get the job done. That job is to EDUCATE THE CHILDREN. No to play into local politices and race issues. I say at least give the man a chance. If Charles Larke got away with anything ( and I think he did)it was the BOE members fault. Let's hope they do a better job of oversight than the last time. Their job is to set policy, not to micromanage. And mostly not to fistfight.

kudzo-n-roses
2
Points
kudzo-n-roses 06/28/07 - 09:18 am
0
0
The Larke issue HAS to be

The Larke issue HAS to be brought up because the idiots on the school board have a habit of repeating themselves.....they never learn from the past...their mentality and most of Augusta's is that......Ok so he committed grave offences against the children of RC...lets give him a great deal and even a farewell dinner.....come on..the man should have been run out of town on a rail !!! Someone has to stand up and holler...even if it means being called a racist...it has got to be said.

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