There is virtually no public discussion about it, but behind the scenes many key members of the Richmond County School Board have been pondering their future under the leadership of Superintendent Frank Roberson.
While Roberson was cleared medically in September to return to full-time service following a 19-month recovery period from near fatal emergency brain surgery, there are concerns he may no longer have access to the energy, drive and stamina that made him the dynamic leader he had been for many years. Not to mince words, there are concerns he is simply no longer up to the job.
People who know and work closely with Roberson say that while he does appear to be getting better as the weeks go by, it is clear that he is not where he needs to be as an effective leader of one of the largest school systems in the southeastern United States.
His congenital condition, which was lurking undetected his entire life, was described by his doctors as an anarteriovenous malformation, which is an abnormal clustering of blood vessels on the brain. While it presented no known symptoms until the night he was rushed to the hospital, the resulting surgery and recovery apparently had a profound impact on his ability to communicate and use his cognitive skills.
This news is quite sad for a number of reasons, primarily because of the incredible personality and positive synergy Roberson originally brought to the system. His two immediate predecessors had serious issues relating well to BOE employees, Dr. Dana Bedden because he was reportedly distant and aloof, and Dr. Charles Larke, who often operated like a small-time thug who was constantly on the make.
Roberson seemed to not only have great ideas as an educator, but as a human being he was said to be nothing short of a saint. If this man’s talents and intellect are indeed lost to the system, it could very well mark one of the worse turns the BOE has ever had to deal with.
There are serious discussions among trustees right now as to how they can move forward. Some of them were under the impression that when Roberson was “cleared” to return, that it meant he was back to full speed. Now they understand that the physician’s clearance only meant that, physically, he could return to a full-time schedule. To say that this is a sensitive issue would be the understatement of the year. The BOE does not want to come across as cruel or harsh, but the very real concern is that Roberson came to them with a certain skill set that has been rendered unavailable at this time and, very possibly, permanently unavailable.
How ironic that so much time and press has been devoted to the question of who would be the next leader of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Department, while a position so much more seriously powerful, that of school superintendent, seems to have been almost taken for granted.
I do not envy the trustees who need to get a handle on this situation, but it is a very real concern to the people in control of 75 percent of the taxing and spending in Augusta. I am also sorry to be just about the only media person who seems to have picked up on this issue but, given what is at stake, I would be negligent if I did not share what I know.
In the meantime, keep Frank Roberson and his family in your prayers. He is a great man who did not deserve the hand that Mother Nature dealt him. You Might Also Like:
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