Kansas City Public Schools leader Mark Bedell is leaving

Lisa R. Parker

Update: Here’s the district that employed Superintendent Mark Bedell absent from Kansas City colleges. Story here.

Mark Bedell, Kansas Metropolis Public Schools’ longest-serving superintendent in five decades, is resigning from the district immediately after six several years, officers declared Thursday.

Bedell — whose regular leadership has mainly been credited with encouraging improve academic accomplishment and aiding the district this year in reaching comprehensive state accreditation just after much more than two many years — will resign efficient Aug. 5. In a letter, Bedell did not provide a particular reason for his resignation, and only claimed that “the time has appear for me to move on individually and skillfully.”

“I know this announcement could come as a shock,” Bedell wrote. “When the KCPS Board of Administrators took a chance on me in 2016, I promised to transfer this district to comprehensive accreditation. Jointly, we improved our graduation fee from 68% to 78%. We increased the selection of KCPS students getting Sophisticated Placement, Global Baccalaureate and twin credit score courses by 44% — and quintupled the amount of students who received university credit history.”

He also addressed the troubles the district and city go on to experience: “There’s so a lot that is needed which is further than their command — and mine. The concerns that have held me up quite a few nights are not kinds I can remedy as superintendent. I’m conversing about racism, injustice, a absence of affordable housing, inequitable economic growth methods, violence and other systemic concerns that are unable to be solved in our lecture rooms on your own.”

District spokeswoman Elle Moxley informed The Star that Bedell strategies to share aspects about his programs throughout a push conference Friday morning.

Very last 12 months, the school board permitted a new three-year agreement for Bedell, elevating his salary to $282,000. Bedell, who had never ever led a district in advance of arriving in Kansas City, was the district’s 27th superintendent in 45 yrs. His contract was set to run by way of June 30, 2024.

“Mark Bedell was a accurate adjust maker and educational hero. And a gentleman of his term. He promised to place KCPS again on the path to greatness and he did,” mentioned Missouri state Sen. Barbara Anne Washington. “He will be sorely skipped, but I’m grateful he place actions and men and women in area to maintain KCPS heading forward.”

The board unanimously voted to select Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Collier as the district’s interim superintendent for the 2022-23 college calendar year. Collier has served as an educator in Kansas City General public Faculties for 22 a long time, which includes as a trainer, assistant principal, principal, chief human useful resource officer and deputy superintendent.

Bedell, a indigenous of Rochester, New York, labored for 12 many years in the Houston Unbiased University District as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and school enhancement officer. In advance of going to Kansas Town, he served as assistant superintendent for substantial universities at Baltimore County General public Faculties in Maryland.

He will leave KCPS during a essential time, as it is effective to make off of its momentum gained from acquiring entire accreditation and generate community obtain-in on a extended-term restructuring program. The district is thinking about closing and consolidating some under-enrolled and outdated educational facilities in the coming several years, so that it can update classrooms, increase systems and guarantee all pupils have entry to the identical possibilities districtwide.

In a statement, Kansas Town Mayor Quinton Lucas called Bedell “one of the top faculty directors in the nation.”

“Dr. Mark Bedell has reworked Kansas City General public Colleges, regaining accreditation for our faculties, improving the life of 1000’s of children in our town, and offering balance in the position unidentified to generations of Kansas Citians,” Lucas said. “His perception in our youngsters and their likely is unmatched and his management in relation to COVID and racial reckoning aided shepherd our metropolis through difficult periods. A lot more than everything, he is an excellent father, husband, and teacher. Kansas Metropolis will pass up him. I will pass up him even much more. I wish him properly.”

A lot of on Thursday applauded Bedell for bringing balance to Kansas Town Community Universities, grateful that he served as superintendent for for a longer period than any chief had in the previous five a long time.

With the progress of charter faculties and as additional people fled to suburban districts around the previous couple of decades, KCPS enrollment fell by half. The district missing condition accreditation, and around the previous 10 years had been performing to enhance attendance and pupil achievement to regain it.

Now Bedell methods down from the district on a high notice, immediately after the Missouri State Board of Instruction in January granted it total accreditation. Local community leaders explained at the time that Bedell’s assistance served the district satisfy point out criteria by accelerating student accomplishment, strengthening graduation prices and proving it is superior getting ready pupils for lifetime immediately after large faculty.

“He’s the superintendent who returned security and credibility to the district,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker explained to The Star. “Dr. Bedell confirmed that reliability by restoring accreditation to KC colleges.”

The achievement, officers say, must aid the district raise its status, in hopes of retaining and attracting far more people immediately after seeing enrollment decline more than the past couple of decades.

Kansas Town now has an overstock of below-enrolled educational institutions, officials say, and a need to revamp programming and develop providers so they are obtainable throughout all properties. The district will be left to continue its extensive-phrase planning and determine how greatest to restructure the program.

Also below Bedell, the district has added or expanded many plans, these kinds of as the Middle College System that allows younger grown ups who dropped out put together for article-secondary education and the workforce. It has expanded its early college software. And it’s opened the Global Welcome Centre for English language learners and immigrant college students.

Bedell has not long ago prioritized lobbying to have condition instruction laws adjusted so that colleges can work on much more adaptable hrs, this kind of as allowing students to go to faculty until 8 p.m. if they want to do the job or regulate other obligations during the usual school working day.

This tale was originally posted June 9, 2022 1:44 PM.

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Sarah Ritter handles K-12 training for The Kansas Town Star. Formerly a reporter for the Quad-Metropolis Times, Sarah is a graduate of Augustana Faculty.

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