Newest Crew Team: NYC School Leader to Head New K-12 Institute

Rudy Crew, former chancellor of New York public schools, became executive director of the University of Washington's new Institute for K-12 Leadership Feb. 1.

Crew will be the first executive director of the institute, an academy for K-12 principals, superintendents and other school leaders in the Northwest and eventually the nation. The goal, according to President Richard L. McCormick, is to help these leaders elevate every level of public education-student achievement, teaching and learning, management, accountability, finance and governance.

New UW institute director Rudy Crew

Rudy Crew, the new director of the UW's K-12 Institute.

Impetus for creating the institute has come from conversations McCormick and others have had with educators and citizens across the state and from strategic planning sessions with the UW regents.

"When we ask education and business leaders about the most important area in K-12 where the UW could make a contribution, the response is always the same-they want our help attracting, training and supporting the very best leaders for their schools and districts," McCormick said.

Crew was chancellor of New York Public Schools for four years, one of the longest tenures of any recent chancellor. While leading the district of 1.1 million students, Crew ended the automatic promotion of failing students, changed the practice of giving lifelong job protection to principals and persuaded the state Legislature to give the chancellor more say over the appointment of local superintendents.

In news accounts, Crew blamed Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for his departure. The two had several disputes, including over a plan favored by the mayor to give public school students taxpayer-funded vouchers to use at private schools.

"In Rudy Crew we have the right person to coordinate an effort in which the UW will partner with the public schools, with private foundations and with corporations interested in improving public education," McCormick said. "Our goal is nothing less than creating a program to serve as the national model for training future school leaders. We believe the time is right and the resources are available to make such an effort successful."

An example of the kind of program that will be offered is the already existing Smart Tools Academy. The academy, a four-day program on technology and leadership, has already reached hundreds of principals and superintendents in Washington and, beginning this summer, will become a national program.

Among the programs now being formulated is the Building Leadership Team Program, which is being developed in partnership with Seattle Schools Superintendent Joseph Olchefske and will work with leadership teams from all 97 Seattle public schools.

A recent national study showed a shortage of qualified principal candidates in almost half of 400 school districts studied. Government statistics show these shortages are likely to grow through the year 2005.

Crew also will become an affiliate professor of leadership and policy studies in the College of Education, where he will teach and be involved in the University's principal and superintendent credential program.

Crew was superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools from 1993 to 1995. Prior to that, he was superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District and held various other teaching and administrative positions in California and Boston. His master's and doctoral degrees are from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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