County Schools Chief Named Superintendent of the Year Award by the National Alliance of Black School Educators
The award is presented annually to a sitting superintendent who has demonstrated a quality of leadership that resulted in significant positive outcomes for students of African descent.
“As we reviewed the nomination packets, Dr. Bedell’s positive impact on the school system climate and intense focus on equity for all children – even in the short time he has been at Anne Arundel County Public Schools – stood out,” Dr. Julia Y. Andrews, chair of the NABSE Awards Committee. “It was very evident to the selection committee that the students and staff at Anne Arundel County Public Schools are being well-served by Dr. Bedell, and we are thrilled to be able to honor him.”
Dr. Bedell began his four-year term as Superintendent in August 2022 after serving for six years in the same position at Kansas City Public Schools. He arrived with a 100-day entry plan that included a focus on creating what he called a “road map for successful schooling in conjunction with AACPS’ adherence to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.”
Dr. Bedell conducted 16 Listening and Learning Tour sessions across the county during the 2022-2023 school year that drew more than 1,000 participants to provide input on what the school system does well, what it needs to improve, and what they would like to see included. Those sessions led to the creation of Dr. Bedell’s Post-Entry Plan, which will help inform the system’s new Strategic Plan, for which work is now under way.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award, which is a reflection of the hard work of incredible teams of people – both here and in Kansas City – who have embraced the vision that I have and the potential every student in our school district has,” Dr. Bedell said. “This work cannot be done alone, and it is not about me. It is about us, and I am proud of each and every member of our AACPS team, our Board of Education, and our community. We have talked since I arrived here about putting our school system on a level where it is highly regarded nationally, and I have no doubt we will get there.”
During his first school year, Dr. Bedell led initiatives that resulted in increases in scores in seven of eight Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program tests, and bettered the educational environment and achievement of Black and Multiracial students in many categories. Among them, in the 2022-2023 school year as compared to the 2021-2022 school year:
- Referral rates decreased 1.0 percentage points and suspension rates decreased 0.7 percentage points for Multiracial students.
- Kindergarten Readiness Assessment scores increased 7 percentage points for Black students and 3.8 percentage points for Multiracial students.
- Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program English Language Arts scores increased 2.1 percentage points for Black students and 1.7 percentage points for Multiracial students.
- Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program Math scores increased 2.1 percentage points for Black students and 3.3 percentage points for Multiracial students.
- Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program High School Biology scores increased 5.5 percentage points for Black students and 9.2 percentage points for Multiracial students.
- Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program Fifth-Grade Science scores increased 3.3 percentage points for Black students and 5.2 percentage points for Multiracial students.
- Scores of 3 or higher on Advanced Placement tests increased 3.9 percentage points for Black students.
- PSAT participation increased 9.6 percentage points for Black students.
- End-of-Year Kindergarten DIBELS scores, which measure early literacy skills, increased 20.9 percentage points for Multiracial students and 19.6 percentage points for Black students.
“We have a lot of work to do in order to get where we want to go,” Dr. Bedell said. “But we have laid a foundation here that is solid and strong, and we are beginning the climb to where we want to be.”
The National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) is the nation’s premier non-profit organization devoted to furthering the academic success for the nation’s children – particularly children of African descent.