"Most Powerful Pages on The Planet"
.February 27, 2010
Volume 3 - No. 2
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Weekly Publication
Erasing Color Barriers:
Irving Steps Into History - Hires First African-American Superintendent
Irving, Tx. - Not only is the selection of Dr. Dana Bedden as Irving's first African-American superintendent historic, but it also marks the beginning of a new era of positive attitudes linking district leaders, educators and the community together with the common goal of boosting the educational achievements of all Irving students and schools.
"We feel we hit the jackpot," said Place 2 Irving School Board member A.D. Jenkins. "His (Bedden) skills and professionalism were very impressive. He has made a difference and made districts better everywhere he has been."
Bedden, who currently serves as superintendent of Richmond County School System in Augusta, Georgia, was tapped to run the district by a 6 to 1 vote beating out over 30 applicants who were reviewed in the process.
" He proved to be the best candidate," he said. " His upside was tremendous and we felt he fit what each group wanted in a leader. We feel strongly that he will come in here, be proactive, visible and move this district forward."
Irving is a city northeastern Texas and a suburb of Dallas. Established in 1903 and incorporated in 1914, the city developed into an industrial hub during the 1950s and has been growing with each decade.
The Irving Independent School District is a district comprised of 37,798 students. Of those, 68.75 percent are Hispanic, 13.83 percent White and 12.95 percent Black. Asians also make up 4.15 percent of the student population.
Despite the district being majority Hispanic, for years the district was controlled and dominated by a white majority school board.
Although not Hispanic, Bedden's hiring marks a change in direction and thinking for the board.
"This is a man who demonstrates great people and uniting skills," Jenkins said. "He is the type of guy we wanted. We are comfortable with his plans to be visible and let the total community know he cares."
Bedden's outstanding credentials and skills matched parameters sought by community input, the Texas Association of School Boards, community leaders, educators, parents and the board.
TASB consultants met with staff and community groups to discuss desired characteristics of a new chief executive officer.
After the meetings, a profile was developed to serve as a yardstick used by trustees and consultants in evaluating applicants for the position. TASB consultants narrowed the applicant pool to six, which trustees pared down to three candidates before conducting visits to finalists’ home districts.
The Florida native earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Florida (UF) and Master of Education degree from Pennsylvania State University. He earned a Doctor of Education in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech University.
Bedden began his career in 1991 as middle school health teacher and basketball coach with Pinellas County Public Schools in Largo, Florida.
From 1993-1994, Bedden served in Pennsylvania as athletic director for City of York School District, and then from 1994-1996 as district community and athletic resource administrator for Exeter Township School District.
From 1996-1999, Bedden served as subschool principal at Mount Vernon High School in Fairfax, Virginia.
He served as principal at School Without Walls Senior High School in Washington, D.C. from 1999-2003. Bedden became central region superintendent for School District of Philadelphia, in 2003, and in 2007 was named superintendent of Richmond County Schools.
Bedden has earned superintendent certification in Virginia and Pennsylvania, earned an administrator license in Virginia and North Carolina, and received teacher certification in Virginia. He is also a certified athletic administrator by National Association of Interscholastic Athletic Administrators. He is the recipient of the 16th Annual Minority Leadership Award from UF College of Health & Human Performance.
Bedden serves on several education advisory and administration boards including: American College Testing Education Advisory Board, SACS/CASI Accreditation Appeals Board, American Association of School Administrators, UF College of Health & Human Performance, Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, YMCA of Metro Augusta, and Boys and Girls Club of Augusta. Professional affiliations include: Association of Supervision & Curriculum Development, Phi Delta Kappa, Education Law Association, American Association of School Administrators, Georgia School Superintendents, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Middle School Association, Council for Exceptional Children, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
" People from his other districts praise him," Jenkins said. "To his credit, positive words still are being shared about him from the community even though he is leaving and coming here."
Jenkins envisions that Bedden will hit the ground running and build repore with community by making appearances, attending community meetings and public forums.
This (selection) was done professionally, legally and ethically," Jenkins added. "There is no second guessing and we sleep well with the decision we made."
Bedden and his wife Ava are the parents of three children.
According to Texas law, the board must now wait 21 days before voting to hire Bedden to replace the interim superintendent, Dr. Neil Dugger, who has served as district leader since March 27, 2009.