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Letter to incoming superintendent Dr. Bedell

Below is a letter sent by TAAAC President Russell Leone to incoming superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell

Dr. Bedell,

On behalf of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC), congratulations on your appointment as our next superintendent. TAAAC values open communication with management and our members and leaders hope to develop a stronger partnership with you as we provide the highest quality education for all of our students.

As you are well aware, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is critical in meeting the needs of our students and staff. We know that effective community schools provide much-needed services to ensure children come to school ready to learn. Further, meeting the goals of minimum pay requirements is critical to raising the recruitment and retention rate in AACPS, which has become a great issue in our county in recent years.

TAAAC Leadership and members have been working side by side with the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) and Maryland legislators in drafting and amending this important legislation for passage. We have been involved in trainings and workgroups statewide examining the requirements of the Blueprint. We are anxious to partner with you and your team to share our expertise in this area.

That said, what has been missing for the educators of TAAAC is a true partnership with AACPS management. For well over a year, I have requested to have TAAAC at the table to work on Blueprint implementation only to be met with “We are working on it and we’ll let you know when we are ready to bring in stakeholders.” We have yet to have these meetings. In addition, we have learned that AACPS has sent out requests for proposals for consultants to develop a Blueprint plan and to serve on the bargaining team to assist management to implement the plan. Stakeholders including educators, parents, and community leaders are the experts that AACPS must involve for our students’ success.

Unfortunately, from past experience, AACPS workgroups involving stakeholders have proven to be presentations of almost fully formed plans, including PowerPoints and plan documents, under the guise of asking for our input, which all too often remains unincorporated into plans.

We hope to see a shift under your leadership as we have heard of your openness to engage unions and community groups which has resulted in excellent success to the Kansas City Public Schools. With the vision of establishing a similarly strong foundation of communication and partnership, I would like to propose a meeting between you and me prior to your arrival here in Anne Arundel County. As I will be in Chicago from June 27-July 7 and will be in your time zone, I am open to a Zoom, or similar video meeting on any of those days. Please feel free to reach me on any of the numbers below.

Once again congratulations and welcome to AACPS.

Russell Leone
TAAAC President

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