Dr. Dana Bedden is leaving his job as Richmond Public Schools Superintendent on June 30. People wondered why he is leaving after only three years on the job and two years before his contract ends. The mayor's office, school board, and Dr. Bedden have been quiet about the departure. On Thursday, April 27, Bedden broke his silence and disclosed that it was not his choice to leave.

The Richmond School Board held emergency meetings behind closed doors last week. Late on Friday night, members determined that Dr. Bedden would be removed from the job he has held since January 2014.

The 50-year-old superintendent received an e-mail on Saturday afternoon stating that the school board is seeking new leadership that shares the same vision of the board for the best environment for students.

However, the members of the Board still have not given any concrete reason why they decided to remove Dr. Bedden. A severance agreement with the outgoing superintendent will be worked out, and an interim replacement has to be found to start on July 1.

The interview

The outgoing superintendent spoke exclusively to Channel 8 News Anchor Christina Feerick. Bedden said he was given limited resources to do his job effectively. In fact, it seemed like the school board wanted to go in a different direction.

In three years, they never established a good working relationship. He mentioned specifically that the budget with the new school board could have been handled differently.


Dr. Bedden finds it ironic that after the decision had been made to remove him on June 30, his credentials are coming under fire. He has been accused of plagiarizing his dissertation at Virginia Tech.

With good reason, Dr. Bedden is wondering about the timing of the allegation because it comes after the decision to remove him. He didn't have to defend his credentials when he was hired. So, it is strange that he is required to support them on his way out. He believes this allegation is trying to make him look bad, and it is affecting his family.

Virginia Tech professors

More than four different Virginia Tech teachers and officials have spoken up on behalf of Dr. Bedden about his dissertation. Channel 8 News spoke with co-chair Dr. Richard Salmon who said by telephone he thinks someone is angry with Dr. Bedden and is out to get him. He explained that the committee found no plagiarism because all sources were cited in his writing.

Channel 8 News also received a statement from Mark Owczarski, Virginia Tech’s Vice President for University Relations who agreed with Dr. Salmon that no plagiarism or academic dishonesty could be proven. If so, it would have been addressed in 2006 when the dissertation was submitted and approved.