DeKalb County schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis joined the school system in 1977. He never left, fulfilling a lifelong goal in 2004 when the school board named him superintendent. Lewis at the time seemed a status quo hire but he pursued systemic changes that included everything from instruction to bus service. Here's a look at his 33-year tenure.
1977 – Hired as a physical education teacher at Montgomery Elementary School in north DeKalb.
1984 – Named principal of Montgomery Elementary.
1990 – Named principal of Snapfinger Elementary School in south DeKalb.
1993 – Named county Principal of the Year
1994 – Wins $25,000 Milken Award, a national honor considered to be the Oscar of teaching.
1997 – Moves into central office role as executive director.
2002 – Promoted to senior executive director for professional learning and student assignment.
Oct. 2004 – Named DeKalb superintendent, replacing Johnny Brown.
2005 – Ends Brown's more controversial policies, such as the "Dress for Success" school uniform mandate. Talks to parents about the need for new attendance lines to balance school enrollment. Consolidates staff and cabinet posts.
Feb. -- April 2006 – Ousts popular Lakeside High School principal over bias claims, then reinstates him after student and parent outcry. Hires new human resources director, then fires him when a background check reveals the man lied on his resume and was a convicted criminal.
Sept. -- Dec. 2006 – Systemwide redistricting plan unveiled what amounted to a new vision for DeKalb schools. Lewis said the change would save $4 million annually, by pooling and using resources more efficiently.
March 2007 – DeKalb voters approve continuing a one-cent-on-the-dollar sales tax for school construction.
May 2007 – School board approves redistricting plan that includes closing five small elementary schools, redrawing attendance lines for 18 other schools and moving several notable school choice programs to different campuses. Nothing like this had been done in DeKalb for decades.
October 2007 – Board approves Lewis' plans to expand school choice programs in at least 38 schools over the next four years. Plan is delayed by the recession.
Jan. 2008 – Rejects deal by Florida-based developer Sembler Co. for prominent school property on North Druid Hills Road in central DeKalb.
Early 2008 – Told by school board members to reduce staff, which begins long road of cuts caused by sour economy.
Nov. 2008 – Budget plan approved, including more than $20 million in reductions. Begins internal review of Patricia "Pat" Pope, the system's chief operating officer, about allegations of bid-rigging in the school construction program.
Feb. 2009 – Turns over findings of internal review to the county district attorney.
June 2009 – DeKalb eliminates 217 jobs, including 127 through layoffs. Teachers were not cut. Talk of budget cuts continued through year.
Jan. 2010 – Board increases Lewis' annual salary by $15,000 and extends his contract to 2013, just as the system faces additional proposed cuts to make up $115 million shortfall.
Feb. 2010 – District attorney's office investigators search Lewis' home in Stone Mountain as well as system buildings. Lewis takes paid leave.
April 16 -- The DeKalb school board votes unanimously to terminate Lewis. He will receive four months of severance pay (about $85,000) and will be allowed to retire under the negotiated agreement.
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