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Meet The Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Finalists This Evening

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Courtesy photos
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Mark Bedell (left) and Ronald Taylor are finalists for the superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools.

Kansas City Public Schools have reached to the East Coast for the two finalists for its top job.

Both are men, both are African American and both have urban district administrative experience.

Ronald Taylor is the superintendent in the Willingboro, New Jersey, district in the Philadelphia suburbs. Willingboro is a small district, just 4,300 students and seven schools.

Before Willingboro, Taylor also worked in Washington D.C., Boston and Newark, New Jersey.

Willingboro is a troubled district. It's had five superintendents in the past eight years. Taylor has stayed longer than any of his predecessors. Still, he's been trying to leave the district for some time. In the last two years Taylor has been a finalist for superintendent jobs in Camden, New Jersey and in Hartford. 

The biography released by the search firm hired by KCPS calls Taylor a "data guru" and a "turnaround specialist."

He got his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College and completed his Doctorate of Education at George Washington University.

The other finalist, Mark Bedell, is an assistant superintendent in the massive Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS).

Baltimore County has 111,000 students and a $1.7 billion budget. The district is 42 percent white and 39 percent black.

Bedell is assistant superintendent for high schools in the district. According to the BCPS website, 14 high schools report to Bedell.

Bedell's career began in the Houston Independent School District where he was a teacher, assistant principal, principal and the school improvement officer.

According to the biography released by KCPS, Bedell led the nation in scoring while playing basketball at Division III Fisk University. He completed his doctoral dissertation at Nova Southeastern University.

One of the first orders of business for the new superintendent will be to implement a massive new master plan. It appears the board of education will finish work on the plan in the spring.

The public can meet both candidates Thursday, Jan. 14, at Paseo Academy.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR. He's also co-host of KCUR's political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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