New Richmond County superintendent signs contract

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, July 23, 2007

AUGUSTA, GA-- A new superintendent is officially in place in Richmond County. Dr. Dana Bedden signed on the dotted line this afternoon around five o'clock at the Richmond County Board of Education.

His contract is a three year deal with an annual salary to the tune of $185, 000. He will also be eligible for annual performance bonuses of up to $15,000 if certain benchmarks are met.

The Richmond County School Board put a lot of work into finding a successor for Dr. Charles Larke after he announced his plans for retirement in September of 2006.

"The future of the community lies with the education system and we need somebody to move us forward." said Richmond County School Board Member Marion Barnes in February as the search was getting underway.

It was the first search of it's kind for the county in ten years and parents and board members agreed they were eager for new leadership after Dr. Larke's rocky tenure. A tenure that included several lawsuits filed against him, and allegations of advancing pay to staff. Despite his $278,000 paycheck, the graduation rates for the county were lower than the state average.

Unsettling numbers for grandparent Limuer Myers who made his point clear to News 12 in February "We need someone who's gonna be completely honest and fair throughout the board."

In all thirty applications were received by the March 31st deadline, the board then chose eight candidates for interviews, and the final three included one man and two women. Ultimately, the job went to Dr. Dana Bedden who had served as Superintendent of the William Penn School District in Pennsylvania for a little more than two years.

"It's something that you dwell on because the whole system is going to reflective on whoever the superintendent is and how they work." Richmond County School Board Member Jack Padgett told News 12 in June.

How Dr. Bedden works in the district is still to be determined, but so far the board is pleased with how he's done his homework on the district. and the city. Dr. Bedden says he's talking with Columbia County's new superintendent Dr. Charles Nagle to discuss how the two districts can work together. A lot of ideas that the board and the district hope will make for their first good report card in a long time.

"There has been success, there has been productivity so there are good people already in the system. We also need to make sure everyone's in the right place and the right seat on the bus so we can make sure the job's done well." said Dr. Bedden during an interview with News 12 in June after his second interview with the school board.

His first day on the job is scheduled for August 1.

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