KANSAS CITY, Mo. — School Superintendent Mark Bedell is moving on, saying he has accomplished what he promised to do in Kansas City.

After six years of leading Kansas City Public Schools, Bedell says he will return to Maryland, where he came from, to become superintendent of a more rural school district between Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bedell says he achieved what he set out to do in 2016: Restore full state accreditation to Kansas City Public Schools.

Bedell says he became a martyr for children during his time in Kansas City, graduating two of his own kids from Kansas City Public Schools while he was here.

Bedell says he is not leaving over money or disputes with the school board. He says he had one of the best contracts in the nation.

Bedell says he just wants to keep building a resume that eventually may qualify him to become U.S. Secretary of Education.

“Everything that you do, you should be shooting for the moon,” Bedell said. “And if you fall short and land on a couple of stars, you’ve done well in life. My goal is how do I make sure everything that I continue to aspire to do puts me in a position that if I ever have an opportunity to be tapped to serve as Secretary of Education in this country, I have a well enough experience and variety of experiences that I can do that job at
a high level. Don’t know that it will ever happen but that’s the aspiration.”

As he leaves, Bedell says the district is in good hands.

The school board has appointed deputy superintendent Jennifer Collier to serve as interim leader for the upcoming  school year.

Collier says she will be a candidate for the permanent position, and told reporters that continuity is important for a district that used to change leaders and curriculums every year or so.

School Board Chair Nate Hogan says replacing Bedell won’t be easy. The board wants to avoid hiring another “take-the-money-and-run” leader. But Hogan says Kansas City schools are in a much better position now to hire a qualified superintendent.