The DeKalb County Board of Education has narrowed its superintendent search down to a sole finalist, bringing a months-long search for new leadership to a close. Rudolph “Rudy” Crew, president of  Medgar Evers College in New York City, outlasted a field of 68 applicants to become the lone finalist, the board announced April 23.

Crew, who has previous experience as chancellor of the New York City Board of Education and superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is concluding his seventh year as president of the college. If hired, the Poughkeepsie, New York native would take on his first professional role in Georgia.

Rudolph “Rudy” Crew. (Special)

“We heard from the community that it was paramount that the candidate have deep experience as an educator, an administrator and a partner to parents, teachers and students,” DeKalb school baord chairman Marshall Orson said in a press release. “We are excited to not only have found a finalist who meets these criteria, but also has more than a quarter-century of experience in leading school districts, including a strong record in heading two of the nation’s largest urban districts.”

As superintendent in Miami-Dade County, Crew oversaw a district of 353,000 students. As chancellor in New York City, he worked in a district of over 1 million students. Now, he is likely to take on Georgia’s third-largest district, serving 102,000 students across 140 schools and learning centers.

“I’ve had the rare opportunity to explore a diverse career path that led me from classroom teacher to K-12 administrator and, most recently, to higher education,” Crew said in the press release. “What this experience has taught me about myself is the heart I really have for helping to shape the lives and educational outcomes of our younger students in a K-12 setting. I’m excited to get back to that important work and DeKalb is an outstanding school district where I believe my experience would be of great benefit.”

Crew attended Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts for his undergraduate degree in education. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in education from the University of Massachusetts.

In the press release, DeKalb schools lauded Crew’s experience of progressive and innovative education policies. In Miami, Crew organized schools into districts based on student need rather than geography in an effort to improve performance, and the American Association of School Administrators named him the 2008 National Superintendent of the Year, the release said. In New York City, he helped to introduce additional learning opportunities like the Math and Science Institute, featuring after-school and Saturday programming.

“The district has made tremendous strides in recent years,” Crew said. “It successfully restored its accreditation, improved its financial situation, and, most importantly, continues to elevate its academic programs and improve student outcomes.”

In accordance with Georgia law, the school board must wait 14 days after naming its sole finalist before making the appointment official. The district expects Crew to sign a contract in May and succeed Ramona Tyson, who took over the superintendent role after the DeKalb Board of Education dismissed R. Stephen Green last November. Tyson is scheduled to retire June 30.

To introduce Crew, the district will host virtual town halls on April 29 and 30 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The public can submit questions for the town halls by noon on April 28 in one of the following ways:

  • Email: dcsdsupesearch@dekalbschoolsga.org
  • Phone: 678-676-0722

The district will stream the town halls online on its website. Crew will also meet virtually with district staff, elected officials, community leaders and members of the press during the 14-day waiting period.

–Ryan Kolakowski