New superintendent signs on dotted line

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Richmond County schools aren't "broken."

Dr. Dana Bedden signs the Richmond County Board of Education contract for his new role as superintendent. His three-year contract includes bonuses for reaching goals.  Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Dr. Dana Bedden signs the Richmond County Board of Education contract for his new role as superintendent. His three-year contract includes bonuses for reaching goals.

Some things are working, and others aren't. But there is no reason why every school and every pupil in the county can't be successful, Dana Bedden said Monday after officially becoming Richmond County's next school superintendent.

Dr. Bedden and the school board agreed to a three-year contract, which guarantees him a base pay of $185,000 and totals about $215,000 once fringe benefits, annuities and travel allowances are added.

The 40-year-old father of three is leaving a small suburban Philadelphia school system, where he was superintendent.

The board and superintendent will sit down with the Georgia School Boards Association after Dr. Bedden starts work Aug. 1 and together establish three goals. For each goal Dr. Bedden meets, he will receive $5,000, making his contract worth a maximum of about $230,000.

He will be replacing Charles Larke, who came under fire for his large annuities and a contract that renewed automatically. Dr. Larke's contract totaled about $278,000 the last full year he was superintendent. Dr. Bedden's contract doesn't include a "rollover" clause.

In his first news conference, Dr. Bedden acknowledged the work that has to be done.

"If it's not working, be prepared to take a change in course of action," he said, cautioning that change will take time. "You cannot eat the whole elephant at once. We're going to take chunks out of the elephant."

Progress will be made until parents feel good about every school in the county, he said.

"The CSRA is Richmond County," Dr. Bedden said. "Richmond County is an economic engine. Education is part of economic development."

But the superintendent can't do it alone. It will take him, the school board, parents and the community, working as a team, he said.

"I also believe every day we're not making things better, we're losing a child," Dr. Bedden said.

When he begins the job, he said, he will look to see if people and resources are being used effectively. Some personnel might not be in the "right seat on the bus."

Board members, who unanimously approved the contract, said they are handing the reins over to Dr. Bedden, giving him control to establish his way of running things.

"He's the superintendent of schools," board Vice President Joe Scott said. "He sets the direction, and the board will go with the direction."

The board will support the new superintendent's decisions but will hold him accountable for meeting his three performance goals, Mr. Scott said.

Board President Jimmy Atkins said the three goals, although not set yet, will involve student achievement.

"The only thing we have left to do is roll up our sleeves and get to work," Mr. Atkins said.

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

CONTRACT HIGHLIGHTS


BASE PAY: $185,000


TRAVEL ALLOWANCE: (Standard for all senior school staff) $11,112


ANNUITIES: $11,250


INCENTIVE PAY: Three incentives of $5,000 each for a total of $15,000


OTHER FRINGE BENEFITS: $8,000


MAXIMUM COST: About $230,000


LENGTH: Three years with no automatic "rollover" clause


BEGINS: Aug. 1


TERMINATION: Dr. Bedden waived his right to require seven votes to terminate his contract in favor of a simple majority and the state's fair dismissal rules.


APPROVED: Unanimously

Source: Richmond County Board of Education

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Interested Citizen
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Interested Citizen 07/24/07 - 08:38 am
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It is so very hard for me to

It is so very hard for me to understand that new people......regardless of the jobs.......have to be brought in from outside this area. Do we not have any qualified people in the Augusta area. Why wasn't Mr. Thompson......who has done wonderful work not hired as replacement for Mr. Larke. The move certainly would not have cost us taxpayers so much money. I pray that Dr Bedden earns his money.....not like Charles Larke,

tchnga
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tchnga 07/24/07 - 08:51 am
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Citizen....are you sure about

Citizen....are you sure about that? Ask the teachers about the in-house staff downtown. While Dr. Thompson is a very nice man, he is not the best person for the job. Don't you think he would have been considered if he was the right person. Perhaps he didn't want the job, did you ever think of that? I hope Dr. Bedden comes in and observes what a mess the downtown office is. No one understands what they're doing. True story: I went to the BOE office two weeks and asked a question that was fairly important about the upcoming school year and completing paperwork. I asked 5 people the same questions and received 4 different answers. The fifth person did not know so she did not answer. My father had a saying about a place he used to work. When asked how many people worked there, he always answered about half. I think that is becoming true for the BOE downtown.

One Who Knows
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One Who Knows 07/24/07 - 09:50 am
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Congratulations Richmond

Congratulations Richmond County! In selecting Dr. Bedden, you have chosen a leader of forthright integrity, high purpose, great insight, and tremendous intelligence. He will put your children first -- always -- and your schools will move forward. Best wishes.

bone
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bone 07/24/07 - 10:21 am
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just hope he hangs around for

just hope he hangs around for a few years. his track record for staying in place isn't the greatest. i hope he is very successful in helping rich. co. change the direction of their public schools; columbia co. schools are just too full.

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 07/24/07 - 11:47 am
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I wish Dr. Bedden the best.
Unpublished

I wish Dr. Bedden the best. He has a monumental task ahead of him, if he is willing to accept it.

SHOCKER1
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SHOCKER1 07/24/07 - 11:53 am
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I am excited about the new

I am excited about the new superintendent!!! I hope he shakes things up and moves people around! Education can't afford to have people who aren't willing to make changes! As a teacher, I might be tempted to leave the county I am in and come to work for Dr. Bedden!

taegrece
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taegrece 07/24/07 - 12:06 pm
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I think the rcboe made a

I think the rcboe made a great choice in decideing who will be RC superintendent. I have done research on Dr. bedden and the other applicants, he was the best pearson for the job. I wish him well. ?????? why would you bring Mr. thompson in and have the same in house treatment that we are trying to do away with???? we need new ideals and goals.(fresh blood!!!!!!!)

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 07/24/07 - 01:42 pm
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from a fellow former keystone

from a fellow former keystone state resident to another, good luck and please make your main priority getting all of those who don't want to learn out of the school system. schools are not to babysit the children of SORRY parents, it is to learn so that our children will be prepared to succeed in the world. the black community is in a crisis situation with teenage pregnancy and high illiteracy rates, and parent who don't seem to care but will blame the failure of thier children on the "whiteman" instead of looking in the mirror. BY THE WAY I AM A BLACK MAN!!!!

askme2b123
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askme2b123 07/24/07 - 02:07 pm
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Dr. Bedden needs to start at

Dr. Bedden needs to start at the top (Richmond County Board of Education located at 864 Broad Street). When you call, phone calls are not returned, paperwork is lost, given last minute information/notices, incorrect answers to a lot of questions, given the run around, not pleasant at times, etc. Let ALL Board employees know what is expected of them at all times. The only thing pleasant when calling the Board is when the receptionist answers the phone. She is pleasant at all times. What goes on at the board is a reflection of the person in charge.

There are a lot of people at the Board who is not on the right seat on the bus. Manuever them around - a change is about to come. DR. DANA BEDDEN is in town. Get ready, get ready, get ready!!!

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 07/24/07 - 03:40 pm
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I hope he FIRES High School

I hope he FIRES High School principals, start with Dr. Welcher at Laney, we have been on the FAIL SCHOOL list or (Needs Improvement) or Did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress, since he's been at Laney.

I'm hot and mad, he needs to GO... go NOW...

taegrece
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taegrece 07/24/07 - 04:22 pm
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Sorry student( jackfruit833)

Sorry student( jackfruit833) No i do not think so!!!! Dr. Welcher could have been our new super if he have wanted the job. Dr. whelcher is a great principal he is one of the best we have left. Dr. Whelcher believes in discpline of studentds and Teachers, Check your references laney test scores has came up every year since he has been principal and talking about AYP if the kids come to school and learn and stay out the streets doing thing like sticking stores up, laney AYP might go up. Laney have what they need Dr. whelcher. Its easy to point the finger, please take notice at the one thats pointing back at you!

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 07/24/07 - 04:27 pm
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no sir/madame tae/grece he

no sir/madame tae/grece he has got to go... I do look at the test scores every year and if it has come up (which it has not) then why are we on the list? He is ONLY grip or he's only known for is being a discipline principal that it, what about academics.

That same environment was there when Mr. Motley was, Laney was not on the AYP list when he was there, it's him (Dr. Welcher) you can say what you want but it's him, he needs to go. I understand this is his last year so all I can do and others is PRESS on until this time next year.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 07/24/07 - 07:48 pm
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I typed this to fast *UGH*

I typed this to fast *UGH* That is: He ONLY known for being a disciplinarian, that's it.

ICAREABOUTKIDS
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ICAREABOUTKIDS 07/24/07 - 09:55 pm
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I am ready for change in

I am ready for change in Richmond County, however the public fails to realize that not everyone at central office sits on their behind and fails to answer calls. Some of the program specialists and consultants are out in schools everyday working with students, teachers and parents. Although the board has requested personnel to return phone calls, often times it is the asst supertindents, directors and corrdinators that fail to answer their phone calls. Dr. Bedden needs to meet with the each department chairperson, coordinator or director at central office. After than he should meet with the people working in each department (withour the director or coordinator) to learn how they feel about the lack of progress in Richmond County. He may also learn that there are alot of unhappy people at the central office such as secretaries, program specialists and consultants. Then he should take at least 15 minutes to meet with each principal and set up at least three community meetings where he can hear from the parents and teachers.

goodgrief
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goodgrief 07/25/07 - 08:23 am
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5,000 incentive pay for each

5,000 incentive pay for each goal achieved??? These goals are achieved by the teachers doing the hard work and demanding students to behave. As usual, RCBOE sits around and brainstorms new ideas for teachers to do every year. Too bad their impractical. They haven't been in the classroom for years and things have changed. WE do all the hard work and he gets the bonus!!!!! Where's my incentive pay??

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