Hundreds check out Richmond Superintendent finalists

Posted at 10:37 PM, Dec 18, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — The three finalists to be Richmond’s next superintendent met the public Wednesday night at a forum at Albert Hill Middle School.

It was announced earlier this week that Dr. Dana Bedden, Dr. Anthony Jackson and Dr. Calvin Watts are finalists.

Over 150 members of the public attended. While one candidate was in front of the public, the other two were in private meetings with principals, teachers, and community leaders.

The forum lasted over three hours.

“As a parent we need a voice,” Kim Clement, a parent who attended the meeting, said.

“I’m concerned about the way RPS is going,” Clement added.

Dr. Dana Bedden, formerly of Texas said, “Parent participation is about us going out to the parents.”

“The only agenda that I think is important is that our children are served everyday,” Anthony Jackson, from North Carolina, said.

Candidate Dr. Calvin Watts from Georgia told a little girl who asked a question regarding SOL tests: “I need you to learn faster and retain it longer.” Dr. Watts promised more visits to schools, as well as more accountability to teachers regarding tests.

Dr. Jackson said church involvement could be a solution as well as stronger parent partnerships.

Dr. Bedden said he’d be an advocate for special needs children because his daughter is one, all while keeping an eye on taxpayer dollars.

As for what’s next the school board will review results from community surveys on Sunday, with the school board set to announce the next superintendent Monday.

Dr. Dana Bedden, former Superintendent of Irving ISD in Texas

Dr. Anthony Jackson, Superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools in North Carolina

Dr. Calvin Watts, Assistant Superintendent in the Division of School Improvement and Operations with Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia.

[CLICK HERE: Paul Goldman analyzes the candidates]

The promised livestream for the event was not a success. Close to 9 p.m. it was up, but only temporarily. A tweet from the Richmond Public School twitter account acknowledged the technical fail and said that the event would replay on Thursday.

A community survey will be available as well.