Teachers, parents on RPS superintendent exit: ‘We’re more vulnerable right now’

Posted at 11:32 PM, Apr 23, 2017

RICHMOND , Va. -- A day after news broke that the leader of Richmond Public Schools is stepping down, parents and teachers are expressing concern about superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden’s departure at the end of the school year.

Spencer Turner, who grew up in Richmond schools and now has two children enrolled, was concerned to learn that RPS and their leader are parting ways.

"It's like rolling dice, and that's a very risky thing to do with our children and city's education,” Turner said.

The school board, which has nine new members, met in a closed session for three hours Friday.  Sources said they discussed Bedden's future.

An official announcement was made Saturday that Bedden was leaving the district two years before the end of his current contract.

The chair of the school board said board members decided they wanted to go in another direction.

"The board has a plan, and that information will communicated to our parents, staff, and the community.”

There has been no word yet about what factors led the board to part ways with Bedden.

The Richmond chapter of the NAACP released a statement shortly after the announcement saying that RPS is showing little academic progress and called for action to fix it.

RPS teacher Victoria Carll said she and others feel their voice was not considered in making such a big decision.

"Most people feel we're more vulnerable right now than we've been in a long time,” Carll said.

In fact, the teacher said a new sense of uncertainty worries her most.

"Administrators are going to be stressed, and teachers are going to be stressed,” Carll said. “That then brings it down to students. As much as we like to try to keep our students in a bubble, the reality of our world, they live in it, too. It is their classroom."

Bedden will leave the district at the end of June.

The school board is currently looking for an interim superintendent and said a national search for Bedden's replacement soon will begin soon.



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