Questions on the Superintendent Search

I have few questions about the search for Dr. Bedden's replacement and since I do not have the answers, I would like to open it up for discussion. Before getting to my question, there is a little bit of background to explain.


In March the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) completed an on-site review of Richmond Public Schools. The report of the review and a draft of the corresponding corrective action directive were released on June 16th. 

During the Richmond School Board meeting on June 26th, they approved the Superintendent search process and timeline. These documents set the intent to have a new Superintendent hired in September. During the meeting, 2nd District School Board member Scott Barlow motioned for an amendment to allow the search committee to extend the timeline for the search to December 1, 2017 if necessary. The motion was approved. Key dates in the timeline are: 

  • June 26th: Search Firm Approved
  • July 4th: Receive apps
  • July 15th: Board interviews top 5 candidates
  • July 22nd: Meet/Greet Candidates
  • August 28th: Search Committee Review top candidates and Board Deliberates

The Superintendent Search draft document outlines different responsibilities and roles of the parties involved. Highlights include: 

  • Staff and community input will be made public the 1st week of July
  • The School Board Committee will collaborate with Search Firm and Search Committee to develop the job description and proposed salary range
  • Search Committee will collaborate with Search Firm to initiate the candidate screening process and will be responsible for initial contact
  • Search committee will recommend top three candidates who meet the SB's criteria
  • There will be additional opportunities for community input throughout the Superintendent search process

Looking at the document from the VBOE outlining the corrective action (this is referred to as a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU), there is a guideline applicable to the Superintendent Search. Under the responsibilities of the Richmond School Board in the MOU, the first specifies the following items must occur in the event of a vacancy in the position of Division Superintendent:

  • The names and credentials of the top three finalists to fill the vacancy must be provided to the VBOE Superintendent of Public Instruction and VBOE President at least five business days prior to making an offer to the preferred candidate 
  • The credentials of the three applicants must include experience leading successful school and division turnaround efforts that are proven by multi-year improved student achievement results on VA SOLs or comparable assessments in other states
Screenshot of text from VBOE MOU

Screenshot of text from VBOE MOU


  • Is this timeline realistic or is it setting an impossible expectation? 
    • The search firm was approved 6/26 and the top 5 candidates will be interviewed 7/15 which is only in a week's time. Is this enough time to get enough applicants and vet them for there to be a top 5? What about now with the specific requirements for the candidate outlined in the MOU?
    • The search document indicates the Search Committee would work with the Search Firm and School Board to create a job description. Has this happened? Shouldn't this happen before interviews start? 
    • The search document indicates that the Search Committee will work with the Search Firm to make first contact and vet the candidates before the School Board interviews them. How is that possible when the School Board is slated to interview the top 5 candidates in a week? Has the Search Committee even had a first meeting? 
    • The school board has indicated they will include the public in the process. When? How? 
  • Is this timeline comprehensive or is it missing items? 
    • Why is the July 12th special meeting not listed? 
    • Why doesn't the timeline identify when they will send the top 3 candidates for review to VBOE? 
    • Why is the first time the Search Committee is referenced on August 28th if they are involved with the initial point of contact?