RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden routinely holds neighborhood get-togethers with students’ parents that he calls them “Soup and Sandwiches.”
On Thursday afternoon, the outgoing superintendent hosted his final lunch.
“I don’t want to sit up in the 17th floor of City Hall and feel like a distant person who’s far away,” Bedden said.
The Thursday lunch was held at the Southside Community Center where most of the parents speak Spanish.
“Obviously our Spanish and Latina population is now the second largest in our school division behind our African American, so the demographics have shifted a lot in the division,” Bedden said. “So we have to engage all of our community.
“We want to make sure everyone has a voice,” Bedden added. “Again, it doesn’t mean you get what you ask for, but at least have a chance to articulate what your hopes, dreams and aspirations are. Our parents have a lot of hopes, dreams and aspirations for their children and we want to try to do the best we can to meet those.”
Rita Rosales has four children in the Richmond school district. Her family came to America as refugees to escape the violence of Central America. The mother of four did not know Bedden was leaving until Thursday’s lunch and seemed disappointed to learn the news.
“I think that he’s doing a good job, you know, like a very good job,” she said. “But, for now in the short time that I have here, I feel there is hope for my kids to get a good education here at Richmond Public Schools.”