KCPS board chairman lauds superintendent pick for history of innovation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After months of searching, Kansas City Public Schools selected Dr. Mark Bedell as its next superintendent. The school board hopes Dr. Bedell will be the superstar to take the school district to the next level.

“For the first time in a long time we are hiring from a position of progress,” said KCPS Board Chairman Jon Hile.

Dr. Bedell will be coming in to fill the big shoes of Dr. R. Stephen Green, who announced his resignation in May to head south to lead a larger district in the Atlanta area.

Dr. Green is hailed for leading KCPS from unaccredited and on the brink of a state takeover to provisional accreditation. The new superintendent is expected to build on that momentum.

Hile says it was a seven-month process to narrow down the 70 candidates who applied for the top job to just one. Dr. Bedell stood out for two reasons.

"First, he has history in two school districts that are known for innovation; the Houston School District and the Baltimore School District,” Hile said.

In both of those inner-city communities, Hile says Dr. Bedell decreased the dropout rate, in part because of the second reason he is the board`s top choice.

"When he referenced the fact that he would be committed to this job because in many ways his story is the same story that so many of our students have, and that he figuratively is a student of the KCPS just like so many of our kids are,” said Hile. “And I think understanding that level of connection and understanding that background and his ability to relate to some of the struggles of so many of our students made him a very, very strong candidate for us.”

Now it is up to attorneys on both sides to pound out a contract, and if everything checks out, the board would like to have Dr. Bedell in place by July 1.

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