KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Families in Kansas City, Missouri, first met Mark Bedell on Jan. 14, 2016, during a public forum at Paseo High School.
Less than two months later, he was unanimously selected as the 41st superintendent in Kansas City Public Schools history.
In the nearly six years since, Bedell has charted a path of growth that led the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to recommend full accreditation for KCPS for the first time since it was stripped in 2000.
Bedell described the moment he received the call from the state’s education department during an exclusive interview with KSHB 41 Anchor Dia Wall.
“Are you sitting down? I said, ‘Yes, ma’am,’” Bedell said, recounting the phone conversation. “‘We put you on the agenda and we’re going to recommend full accreditation.’ ‘Excuse me? Is this for real?’ ‘It’s for real. We want you to come down next Tuesday morning,’ and, yeah, I teared up a little bit. I teared up. It’s been hard.”
Bedell can’t wait to address his KCPS staff, which has worked tirelessly to regain full accreditation, if the Missouri State School Board of Education accepts the education department’s recommendation, as expected, at next week’s meeting.
“I think for the people who’ve been here a long time — oh, man,” Bedell said. “This is a hard one to answer, because I think for some people it’s just the love that they have for this school district and they never gave up through all of the turmoil. This is going to be very emotional for those who’ve been here (for) decades.”
It’s a watershed moment for KCPS, which was founded in 1867.
KCPS is very aware that we are on the State Board of Education agenda next week for full accreditation. We are eager for the State Board’s conversation during their meeting and we very much look forward to sharing more news after their meeting. This is a promising time for KCPS.
It’s also a watershed moment for Bedell personally and professionally.
“Everything we’ve been doing, people now can say it’s been working,” he said. “No matter how hard it was, no matter how uncomfortable it made us, it was the right thing to do.”
KCPS has scheduled a press conference for 3 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss the state board of education’s vote.