The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York today appointed a nationally prominent educator, Dr. Rudolph F. Crew, Oregon’s chief education officer, former New York City schools chancellor and Miami-Dade school superintendent, as president of Medgar Evers College. Chancellor Matthew Goldstein recommended Dr. Crew after a national search.
Video of Dr. Crew’s remarks.
Dr. Crew has made it his life work to strengthen America’s public education system during a 30-year career that has spanned classroom teaching and leadership of the nation’s largest school districts. Since 2009 he has been a professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. He is also president of the K-12 division of Revolution Prep, which seeks to use technology to improve math instruction and graduation rates in urban school districts. As Oregon’s first chief education officer he was charged by Gov. John Kitzhaber with revamping public education, improving Oregon’s high school graduation rate and refashioning public education from kindergarten through college into an integrated system.
In a joint statement, Board of Trustees Chairperson Benno Schmidt and Chancellor Goldstein said: “Dr. Rudy Crew brings to Medgar Evers College an exemplary record of academic, administrative and governmental accomplishment, combined with classroom experience and a strong commitment to students. We are confident that, with his leadership, Medgar Evers College will achieve new levels of excellence for its dedicated students and faculty and strengthen its role with the community. The college was established in 1970 to honor the memory and ideals of the slain civil rights martyr and it is highly appropriate that it will be uplifted by a leader who is deeply committed to academic quality, equal access, and student success.”
Dr. Crew has stated that his mission is to “improve student achievement, especially for poor and minority students.” To that end he worked closely with all stakeholders, first as New York City schools chancellor and later as superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, to place those cities’ lowest-performing schools in virtual districts whose boundaries were defined by student need, not geography, and used research-based practices to accelerate the pace of student learning.
Dr. Crew headed the New York City public schools from 1995-2000 — the nation’s largest district, with a million students — where he initiated many reforms, including adoption of curriculum standards for all schools, elimination of tenure for principals, and the introduction of school-based budgeting. As superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools from 2004-2008, with 356,000 students, he strengthened math instruction, created paths for more English-language learners and students of color and poverty to gain college entry with improved ACT and SAT scores, and started The Parent Academy serving more than 100,000 parents with courses and workshops to help them support their students’ education.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NAACP Educational Leadership Award, the Arthur Ashe Leadership Award, and the National Superintendent of the Year from the American Association of School Administrators in 2008.
Medgar Evers College, located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is a growing school of approximately 7,000 students who overwhelmingly are the first in their family to go to college. It offers both associate and baccalaureate degrees. At its founding it was named for the civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1963, with the hope that “his ideals will inspire students and faculty … in their pursuit of truth as the surest path to human freedom and social justice.”
The presidency of Medgar Evers College attracted an outstanding pool of more than 50 candidates, approximately the same number who applied for The City College presidency two years ago. The high quality of the three finalists — all with exemplary qualifications, strong social justice records and a wealth of administrative experience — testifies to the extensive outreach conducted by the University search committee, which was chaired by Trustee Valerie Lancaster Beal. The search committee selected 14 candidates for extensive interviews and approved three finalists to visit the campus. The committee included Trustees, the presidents of the Medgar Evers’ Community Council and the alumni association, elected student government leaders, faculty representatives and a president of a CUNY senior college,
Soon after being named Oregon’s chief education officer in 2012, Dr. Crew ordered a third of the state’s 197 school districts to rewrite their academic goals because they had failed to seek improvement of at least one percentage point in high school graduation rates and third-grade reading and math scores. He also called for boosting educational achievement for the bottom 40 percent of students through greater use of technology and learning outside of class time, after school and during the summer, along with teacher-developed skill-building classes pegged to individual student needs and delivered online.
He has served in leadership positions for other diverse school districts, including Boston, Sacramento, several smaller California districts, and Tacoma, Wash. Dr. Crew has led school reform initiatives for a private foundation, headed the University of Washington’s Institute for K-12 Leadership and has been a university professor. Early in his career, he was a teacher and principal in middle and high schools in Massachusetts and California.
Dr. Crew was deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Boston Public Schools from 1985 to 1987. He was superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District from 1989 to 1993, and then served as superintendent of the Tacoma, Wash., School District from 1993 to 1995, when he was appointed chancellor of New York City’s public schools.
From 2000 to 2001, Dr. Crew was the executive director of the Institute for K-12 Leadership at the University of Washington, Seattle. He served as director of district reform initiatives at the Stupski Foundation from 2001 to 2004, when he was named superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Dr. Crew was president of Global Partnership Schools from 2008 to 2011. His book, Only Connect: The Way to Save Our Schools, was published in 2007. He has served on many boards, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Public Education Network.
Dr. Crew received a bachelor’s degree from Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., and a master’s and doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He taught at a career opportunity program in Massachusetts and at an alternative school in Pasadena, Calif., before moving into school and district administration.
CUNY has invested more than $300 million in new and newly renovated campus facilities at Medgar Evers College in recent years, including a new $235 million, state-of-the-art academic building and a $22 million School of Business and student support services building. Meanwhile, the college has expanded its faculty, particularly in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), nursing, business, social work and library science.
The newest faculty hires bring impressive academic and professional credentials to Medgar Evers College, along with research backgrounds in venues as varied as NASA, South Africa and Vietnam, and in disciplines as cutting-edge as stem cells, remote sensing of greenhouse gases and renewable and sustainable energy.
About The City University of New York:
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves more than 269,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. Nearly 3 million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.
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