DeKalb County Board of Education announces new superintendent

Rudolph F. "Rudy" Crew is expected to be announced as the DeKalb County School District's superintendent finalist. (Photo courtesy Medgar Evers College)

Rudolph F. "Rudy" Crew is expected to be announced as the DeKalb County School District's superintendent finalist. (Photo courtesy Medgar Evers College)

UPDATED after DeKalb County Board of Education announcement.

The DeKalb County Board of Education announced veteran educator Rudolph F. “Rudy” Crew as its new superintendent during a virtual press conference this afternoon, touting his years as an innovator as a future asset to the district.

Crew, 69, has been president of New York’s Medgar Evers College since 2013. He also led the New York City Department of Education — the largest school system in the country — from 1995 to 2000 as well as Miami-Dade County Public Schools from 2004 to 2008.

Technically, Crew will be named the district’s superintendent finalist, as Georgia law dictates that finalists be announced 14 days before someone receives an official offer. Many districts, though, have announced single finalists in recent years, citing use of a confidential process to shield candidates who want to apply without their interest affecting their current jobs.

Crew would replace Ramona Tyson, who has said she will retire this summer. He is expected to start with the district this summer, the school board announced in a statement. In November, Tyson replaced Steve Green, who had run the district since July 2015 before he and the board agreed to part ways. Last May, Green announced plans to leave the district at the end of the current school year.

“The board believes we have a great leader for the future,” Board chair Marshall Orson said, adding that Crew and Tyson have started conversations to begin the leadership transition.

Not every board member praised Crew during the meeting. Board member Stan Jester said he had concerns that the district could lose progress made under Tyson in the last six months, and questioned Crew’s history, which include allegations of questionable spending and obstructing a sexual assault investigation when he led New York City schools. Board member Michael Erwin did not speak on Crew during the meeting.

“I understand history can be our teacher if we allow it, but I hope we can look forward to the future,” Board vice chairwoman Vickie B. Turner said. “You can’t live in this life and not have experienced some challenges and some negative things. It’s a part of life. But I believe it's a new day upon us and I believe it is incumbent upon us to come together not just as a district but as a community and take us to the next level.”

Orson, in announcing Crew, said the board took into account data collected from the approximately 1,900 community members who shared input with the district throughout the search process.

“Our overriding goal was to make this an open and transparent process,” he said.

It was anything but. While the district sought public feedback, it engaged in a confidential process — allowed by Georgia Law — and only publicly disclosed the number of candidates that applied as the search progressed.