Seven months into his superintendency at Kansas City Public Schools, Mark Bedell is shaking up his leadership Cabinet.
Several key members need to reapply for their jobs, while the district’s attorney told The Star he was fired late last month.
Bedell and the school board would not say how many cabinet members would be directly affected by the reorganization. Board chairwoman Melissa Robinson said the board met in a closed session Jan. 30 “to talk about personnel matters.”
Robinson would not say what action board members took in the closed meeting. In response to questions about the possible loss of some cabinet members who had been credited with helping to bring the provisionally accredited district up to a full accreditation performance level, Robinson said, “You are raising some extremely important concerns.”
However, she declined to elaborate.
She suggested such questions be posed to Bedell. Robinson said the board tells the superintendent where it wants the district to go, and the superintendent “is responsible for creating a staff to get to the place that we have asked him to take the district.”
Robinson said that while the superintendent determines his Cabinet, the board approves the changes.
Natalie Allen, spokeswoman for the district, said Bedell’s reorganization was a typical move for a new superintendent. What was unusual, she said, is that Bedell waited 100 days.
“He wanted to see how people work together first,” Allen said. “He didn’t just come in and uproot people in the district.”
In a report on his first 100 days leading Kansas City Public Schools, Bedell included an outline of his new Cabinet. Allen said that anyone whose job description has changed would be free to reapply for the newly created position.
The chart shows that Bedell added a deputy superintendent position to his staff and consolidated the chief financial officer position — now held by Al Tunis — and the chief of operations position — now held by Darrel Meyer. Those jobs were combined to create a new position called chief finance/operations officer.
Allen said that Meyer and Tunis, who had been interim superintendent after Stephen Green left to lead a district near Atlanta and before Bedell came on board, had both put in for retirement. She would not say whether they are still occupying offices at the district but said they remain on the district payroll through June 30.
Bedell has also changed the position of chief academic and accountability officer — now held by Vickie Murillo — to chief research and accountability officer. And executive director of student support and community services — held by Tonia Gilbert — is now just the executive director of student support.
Changes are also on the way for the district’s chief counsel. Ray Sousley, who has been the district’s attorney for more than five years, said he has been terminated. He did not want to comment further.
Robinson said that some of the changes were made to account for some cost savings, but she declined to be more specific.