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Richmond Public Schools superintendent finalist bows out

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The Richmond Public School Board is now down to two choices following the abrupt exit of Rocky Mount, N.C. superintendent Anthony Jackson via email.

“It is with deep regret and mixed emotion that I respectfully request that at this time due to both personal and professional reasons, that my name be removed from further consideration by the Richmond City Board of Education for the position of Superintendent of Schools,” Jackson wrote in an email to School Board Chairman Jeffrey Bourne and the search firm managing the hiring.

Bourne said the email came as a surprise.

That leaves Dana Bedden, a former Irving, Texas, superintendent with experience in Fairfax County and Washington public schools, and Calvin J. Watts, an assistant superintendent in Gwinnett County, Ga.

First District Representative Glen Sturtevant says feedback coming in from a community forum held Wednesday at Albert Hill Middle School is leaning heavily toward Bedden.

“He’s got stellar qualifications,” Sturtevant says. “He has little if no connection to Richmond, so it gives us the true opportunity to bring in a true outsider.”

Sturtevant added he is keeping an open mind until Sunday, when the board will meet in a closed-door session to finalize its decision. The next superintendent will be announced at the board’s public meeting on Monday, Dec. 23.

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