Richmond Schools look to outsider for new Superintendent - - Richmond, VA News

Richmond Schools look to outsider for new Superintendent

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The next superintendent of Richmond Public Schools will not be someone already working in the district.

The three finalists announced Monday come from not just the school district, but also the state. School Board members say that is a desirable trait and they're hoping the new leader will be able to transform RPS.

In exactly one week, Richmond will have a new head of schools. This week is expected to be filled with a lot of work, both for the School Board and for members of the community.

"This is the most important decision that this school board will make," Chairman Jeff Bourne said.

The new superintendent will be one of three men: Dr. Dana Bedden, former superintendent in Irving, Texas; Dr. Anthony Jackson, current leader of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools in North Carolina; and Dr. Calvin Watts, an assistant superintendent in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

"They bring different flavors, different approaches, but an unwavering commitment to making school districts better," Bourne added.

These three candidates were selected out of a field of almost 80.

"There's a culture of status quo that needs to be changed and moved out of Richmond Public Schools," he responded. "They've faced similar circumstances throughout their career. Some of the things that they've been able to do, that they've demonstrated they've been able to do, are really what helped us settle on these three candidates."

Wednesday's public meeting at Albert Hill Middle School is important because it is another step in the selection process. Not only will the community get to join an open interview between board members and the finalists, but those finalists will also meet with certain Richmonders, RPS staff and teachers.

Community members can participate in the meeting Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

"It will give the board an opportunity to see how they interact, how they think on their feet on issues perhaps they hadn't thought of, how they stand up in front of a crowd, how they respond to teachers and principals," Bourne added.

The new superintendent will have to hit the ground running to deal with both financial issues in the budget and poor performing schools.

The board will interview the three candidates Tuesday. An announcement is expected next Monday.

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