KCPS Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell. File Photo

The Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) Board of Directors voted during an executive session on March 31 to extend Superintendent Mark Bedell’s contract through the 2023-2024 school year.

This is the third contract extension of Bedell’s tenure, which began on July 1, 2016. Nearing his sixth year, Bedell has the longest period of tenure of any KCPS superintendent since the early 1970s. 

“The Kansas City Board of Directors is excited to be able to secure the extension of Dr. Bedell’s employment in Kansas City,” a statement from the KCPS Board of Directors read. “The academic improvement efforts he has led over the past five years have helped the school district build a foundation for continuous improvement for students throughout the district. Dr. Bedell has kept his promise to Kansas City Public Schools’ students and families to address educational opportunity gaps and longstanding inequities within our system, and to be a positive voice for public education in Kansas City, in the state and in the nation.”

Bedell was selected to lead KCPS through a national search completed in early 2016. He replaced Interim Superintendent Al Tunis, who served from June 2015 through July 2016. Previously, Stephen Green served as superintendent from September 2011 to June 2015, when he went on to serve as superintendent of DeKalb County School District in Atlanta, Ga.

“Since his arrival in Kansas City in 2016, Dr. Bedell has positioned equity and student achievement at the forefront of all decisions, bringing stability to the school district and building new support in the Kansas City community,” said Pattie Mansur, KCPS Board Chair. 

The Kansas City School Board pointed to several of Dr. Bedell’s significant accomplishments for KCPS, including instituting a five-year strategic plan to improve systems and efficiency; creating a partnership with the Consulate of Mexico, Plaza Comunitaria, to serve children in the community; launching a mentoring program to match caring adults with almost 8,000 KCPS students; and revitalizing athletic stadiums and added new athletic and extra-curricular programs in all high schools.

In partnership with the Metropolitan Community Colleges (MCC) and the Full Employment Council of Greater Kansas City (FECKC), Bedell led the effort to launch a Middle College Program to give 17- to 24-year-olds who never finished school an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and enter college.

Under Bedell’s leadership, the district achieved increases in academic performance and student experiences – increasing the district’s graduation rate, expanding participation in Advanced Placement, Dual Credit and International Baccalaureate courses, and outpacing the state in math and reading achievement scores.

Bedell was named a “Superintendent to Watch” by the National School Public Relations Association and a “New Superintendent of the Year” by the Missouri Association of School Administrators, as well as to 435 Magazine’s Top 50 Power List as one of the most powerful people to shape the Kansas City region.

He has been a keynote speaker at the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) national conference and leading speaker on educational equity.

Bedell was a 2020 finalist for The Green Garner Award, the most prestigious urban educator award in the nation.

KCPS Board of Directors elections will be held on April 6, 2021.