New RPS superintendent says he isn’t ‘cleaning house’

Posted at 4:20 PM, Feb 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-18 19:10:38-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- The new  superintendent of Richmond Public Schools sat down for a one-on-one interview with reporter Joe St. George Tuesday.

Dr. Dana Bedden addressed a number of issues, including 17 recent job openings that  have popped up on school system's website in recent days. Those positions range from chief of staff, public safety director and a number of area principals.

 Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden

Click for complete interview transcript.

"As long as you’re doing your job, you’ll be OK. But at the same time, we’re not going to be an employment agency," Bedden said.

St. George asked whether employees are quitting on him or if he is "cleaning house" since he has only been on the job a few weeks.

"I wouldn’t categorize it as either. I think it’s a combination of having some people that are choosing to retire, cause they’re at that point in their career."

"Forced retirement?" St. George asked.

"No," Bedden said. "I don’t think I’ve forced anybody to retire, but that’s my perspective," Bedden added.


Bedden also addressed why five principal openings are currently being advertised. According to Bedden, positions are being advertised anticipating future changes.

"There may be some point in time that I may have to make decisions about people later on, but we want to already have that process started so we aren’t left saying, 'What are we going to do now?'" Bedden said.

Bedden also admitted that he has had conversations with administrators and principals following a CBS 6 investigation into high turnover rates with Richmond teachers due to poor relationships with administrators.

"It was a balanced report [and] I appreciate it," Bedden said. "I’ve had a meeting with all the principals and a conversation about what leadership means."

In particular during the interview, Bedden addressed the high turnover at Martin Luther King Middle School, where eight percent of teachers have quit this school year.

Monday marked the first day that a new principal will lead that school.

Bedden said he has asked the new  principal "to improve the culture and climate and improve the teaching and quality of learning in that building."