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Kansas City Leader Receives Contract Extension, San Francisco Chief Postpones Retirement

  • Mark Bedell has led Missouri’s Kansas City School District since 2016, and under his leadership the school system has experienced higher graduation rates, expanded participation in Advanced Placement courses and outpaced the state in math and reading achievement scores.

    As a result, the school board has extended his contract through the 2023-2024 school year.

    "Since his arrival in Kansas City in 2016, Dr. Bedell has positioned equity and student achievement at the forefront of all decisions, bringing stability to the school district and building new support in the Kansas City community," said board chair Pattie Mansur in a statement. 

    Mark BedellBedell was also praised for instituting a five-year strategic plan to improve systems and efficiency, creating a mentoring program to match adults with almost 8,000 students, adding new athletic and extra-curricular programs in all high schools, and launching a Middle College Program to give older students who never finished school an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and enter college.

    During Bedell’s tenure, he has helped the provisionally accredited district make progress toward becoming fully accredited.

    In February, officials at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education asked the Council of the Great City Schools to examine data on the performance and progress of the Kansas City school system.  The purpose of asking for this analysis was to put Kansas City in a broader national context by comparing the school district not only to others in Missouri, but to urban school systems across the country with similar challenges and demographics.

    “In our examination of KCPS data and trends, as well as trend data for districts nationwide, we found that the district has not only raised academic achievement and improved student outcomes, but it has also demonstrated stability and leadership within the region and nation, strengthened its financial health and implemented a comprehensive districtwide improvement plan — all achievements worthy of a fully-accredited school district,” wrote Council Executive Director Michael Casserly in an editorial for the Kansas City Star.

    According to district officials, Bedell is the district’s longest-serving superintendent since the early 1970s. In 2020, he was a finalist for the Council of the Great City Schools’ Green-Garner Award, honoring the nation’s top urban school superintendent.

    San Francisco Chief Postpones Retirement

    Vincent Matthews, the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, announced he would retire from the 25,230-student school system on June 30, 2021. However, after the school board asked him to delay his retirement, he recently agreed to serve at the helm for one more year.   Vincent Matthews

    In a statement on the district’s website, Matthews said that the school board was concerned that a search for a new superintendent would distract from the school district’s recently reopening schools for in-person learning in April, as well as plans to reopen schools for all students in the fall.

    “I agree that SFUSD needs stability at this time,” Matthews wrote. I am dedicated to supporting all of our SFUSD staff as we navigate the many challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in the coming year.”

    A graduate of the school district, Matthews has served as superintendent since 2017.