KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The man who oversaw a renaissance for Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools is resigning.
KCPS announced Thursday that Dr. Mark Bedell, who has served as the district’s superintendent since 2016, will leave his post effective Aug. 5, 2022.
"We have accomplished so much together these last six years," Bedell said in a letter to the KCPS community. "It has been a phenomenal experience working alongside all of you to achieve accreditation for our students.
"However, the time has come for me to move on personally and professionally."
The KCPS Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint deputy superintendent Dr. Jennifer Collier as interim superintendent.
Responsibility for pursuing and building upon his accomplishments will remain with the KCPS Board and our Interim Superintendent, Dr. Jennifer Collier," the board said in a joint statement. "A longtime KCPS educator and leader, Dr. Collier was the clear and unanimous choice to ensure continuity of the changes that have been implemented during Dr. Bedell’s tenure.
"We best honor Dr. Bedell’s work by striving every day to serve our kids, our families and our community."
In an e-mailed statement, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas credited Bedell's work for "transforming" the district and leading the effort to regain full accreditation.
"His belief in our children and their potential is unmatched and his leadership in relation to COVID and racial reckoning helped shepherd our city through tough times," Lucas said. "More than anything, he is an exceptional father, husband, and teacher. Kansas City will miss him."
Earlier this year, Bedell was instrumental in helping KCPS regain full accreditation for the first time since 2000.
It will go down as Bedell’s crowning achievement.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our students, our staff, our families and our community,” Bedell said at the time. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — schools can’t do it alone. Thank you, Kansas City, for believing in us. Together, we’re building a school district that works for all families.”
Bedell, a native of upstate New York, was groomed for the KCPS superintendent’s job as a school improvement officer for the Houston Independent School District and as the assistant superintendent for high schools for Baltimore County Public Schools.
KCPS became the first school district in the country to lose its accreditation in 2000. After regaining provisional accreditation in 2002, it was stripped again in 2011.
The district remained unaccredited again until 2014, when it regained provisional accreditation.
Full accreditation was only restored in January 2022.
During Bedell’s tenure, the four-year graduation for KCPS climbed nearly 10% from 68.7% in 2016 to 77.8% in 2021, including growth in English language arts and math, according to a release from the district.
KCPS also saw a 34% increase in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual-credit courses among students.
This is a developing story and will be updated.