New RPS superintendent takes oath of office - - Richmond, VA News

New RPS superintendent takes oath of office

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After months of debate and work, it is finally official - Richmond's new superintendent is on the job. Monday, Dr. Dana Bedden, who was hand-picked by the school board, took his oath of office.

Not all of Dr. Dana Bedden's first official day was spent in his office, but already he's making his presence known inside the schools. He visited two facilities and attended a basketball game.

His swearing-in ceremony was an event months in the making and one Richmond's school board members say will change the course of city schools. Monday, marks the beginning of that attempt to turn around RPS.

Right after taking the oath, Dr. Bedden told NBC12 about his priorities for students in Richmond classrooms.

"We want to have a balanced approach as we continue to go forward with regards to our academic program, meaning that we want to be strong in our core areas, but we also want to have opportunities for our children to be exposed to the arts," he said.

Dr. Bedden will need to finalize his budget presentation to the school board in his first week on the job.

One thing he's hoping to put in there is a raise for teachers.

"Your human capital will make or break you," he explained. "No matter what program or process you put out, if your people are not happy with their quality of work environment, it's going to be challenging."

What might be less challenging under this administration is creating a working relationship with board members. Dr. Bedden calls the current setup with the school board a "team of ten." It's a different situation than we've seen in the past.

"One of the things about it being our superintendent is a mutual accountability and it's also a break from the past," new School Board Chairman Don Coleman said. "This is the person since we've been on the board that is now doing the work that we selected."

Interim Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Lewis will stay on in a part-time capacity. He will temporarily head up support services.

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