Speaker: Dr. Mark Bedell, Superintendent KCMO Public School District
Throughout his path through graduate school, Dr. Bedell demonstrated an increasing ability to apply what he had learned to practical situations that led to direct and long-term improvements for his students, his co-workers, his schools and his school systems. While serving as a principal in places like Houston, his observation of students struggling to stay in school due to lack of wrap-around support prompted Dr. Bedell to study school culture, climate and dropout prevention at Nova Southeastern University, where he was named a Doctor of Education in 2015.
Dr. Bedell's skill at increasing student achievement in Houston Independent School District led to his promotion from principal to School Improvement Officer. His success across that school system garnered the attention of Baltimore County Public Schools, where Dr. Bedell served as Assistant Superintendent for High Schools from 2012 to 2016. During his tenure, Dr. Bedell helped stem the hemorrhaging of dropouts and the BCPS graduation rate approached 90 percent, a remarkable achievement for a large, urban school system. Dr. Bedell led changes that halved the rate of student suspensions. He also pioneered a countywide effort which more than doubled the percentage of BCPS students who take the SAT exam.
His background, classroom and school experience and singular leadership at BCPS made Dr. Bedell a natural choice for the Superintendent's post at KCPS in 2016. He came to the school system committed to listening to and learning from students, parents, staff and community members. Dr. Bedell devoted hundreds of hours to public engagement in just the first few months of his position. With the stakeholder guidance, he crafted and enacted a post-entry plan which made the central office more effective and efficient, improved School Board governance, and increased staff morale. He has forged innovative partnership on behalf of students and families. These partnerships include: the Sprint 1Million Project, which provides wifi hotspots free of charge to students whose families cannot afford internet access at home; and the Plaza Comunitaria, which links programs and services from the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City with Mexican nationals and other Latino families in KCPS. Dr. Bedell has developed a systematic mentorship program which will eventually match caring adults with about 8,000 deserving students. Most recently, he led the effort to create a new strategic plan that will help KCPS progress over the next five years. Dr. Bedell's success at KCPS led to an invitation to deliver a keynote address nationally televised by C-Span II for other rising educational leaders about his experiences during the 2017 Urban Superintendent's Academy Conference in Washington, D.C.
Sponsored by: Park University
At Park University, we’re different. Since 1875, we’ve prided ourselves on being a leader in higher education, providing educational opportunities in a variety of degree programs to anyone with a desire to learn. This means offering an affordable education at an accredited, private institution where classes are kept small enough to stay on a first name basis with your instructors. It also means offering a Park University education at 41 campus center locations around the country. Out of those 41 campus centers three are located right here in the Kansas City Metro Area in Downtown KC, Lenexa and Independence.
Students looking to earn their degree in the heart of Kansas City will find flexible opportunities to pursue numerous degree offerings at the Downtown Campus. Just a stone’s throw from the Flagship campus in Parkville Mo., the downtown campus is located on the 3rd floor of the Commerce Tower building on Main Street. The campus was recently renovated to better meet the needs of our students as well as our downtown community.
Whether you are a new student or a student who has earned previous college credit, Park University has a program to fit your needs. The Downtown Campus offers evening classes for undergrad and graduate level students. Courses can be completed in 8-week sessions rather than a traditional 16-week semester and are taught by faculty committed to the success of each student. Sessions start five times a year, giving you multiple entry points – two in the fall, two in the spring, and one in summer.
At Park University, when you have goals, we have options. We please reach out to Park University Downtown via email with any questions or stop by and see us!