Kansas City Public Schools names two finalists for superintendent position

Kansas City Public Schools has found two candidates from the East Coast interested in taking on the toughest K-12 education job in this region.

KCPS announced that it narrowed its list of candidates to Ronald Taylor, superintendent of Willingboro Township Public Schools in Willingboro, New Jersey; and Mark Bedell, assistant superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools.

Both men will appear at public forums held Thursday evening at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts (4747 Flora). Taylor will hold the floor from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., while Bedell will follow at 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Taylor has a 20-year career in public school education, starting as a teacher and working his way up to principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. School districts where he’s made his mark include urban districts in Washington D.C., Boston and Newark, New Jersey. While serving as principal in Washington D.C. Public Schools, he was honored for students at his school reaching high academic performance despite the school serving an impoverished area, according to his biography posted on the KCPS website.

Bedell has been with Baltimore County Public Schools for four years. Prior to that, he served different roles (teacher, principal, school improvement officer) at the Houston Independent School District for 12 years, picking up various accolades along the way. Bedell is credited with helping reduce BCPS dropout rates. The district posted a 87.6 percent graduation rate in 2014, up four percentage points from two years ago, according to his bio. Students taking the SAT test at BCPS has more than doubled over the last two years.

Both men are looking to replace Stephen Green, who left last year for another job in Georgia.

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