Crew, Rudy 1950–

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Crew, Rudy 1950–

(Rudolph F. Crew)


Born 1950, in Poughkeepsie, NY; son of a security guard; married second wife, Kathy Byrne (a mental health professional), 1992; children: four (first marriage), three step-children. Ethnicity: "African American." Education: Graduated from Babson College; earned master's degree and Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts.


Office—Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 1450 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33132.


Education administrator and educator. Taught high school English and social studies in Pasadena, CA, 1973-75; San Antonio High School, Claremont, CA, principal, c. 1975; served as assistant superintendent of the Duarte, CA, public school system, early 1980s; Boston, MA, public school system, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, 1985-87; Sacramento, CA, public schools, deputy superintendent, late 1980s; Tacoma, WA, public schools, superintendent, 1993-95; New York City public school system, chancellor, 1995-99; Institute for K-12 Leadership, San Francisco, CA, executive director; Stupski Foundation, director of district reform initiatives; Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami, FL, superintendent, 2004—. Also taught at the graduate level at California State University, Harvard University, and Lesley College; Board member of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the New York Philharmonic, and the Washington Association of Black School Educators.


Educational Leadership Award, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Arthur Ashe Leadership Award; Association of California School Administrators Administrator of the Year Award; superintendent of the year, American Association of School Administrators, 2008.


(With Thomas Dyja) Only Connect: The Way to Save Our Schools, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2007.


Rudy Crew is an American education administrator and educator. He graduated from Babson College, one of the first African American students in the newly integrated school, before continuing graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts, eventually earning an Ed.D. Crew initially taught high school English and social studies in Pasadena, California, before becoming a high school principal while still in his twenties. In the early 1980s, Crew began working as a deputy superintendent in school systems in Boston, Massachusetts, then Sacramento, California, before becoming the superintendent in Tacoma, Washington, in 1993. From 1995 to 1999, Crew was appointed chancellor of the New York City public school system, the largest school system in the country.

After a falling-out with then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, Crew worked as director of several education institutes and foundations before becoming superintendent of the Miami-Dade County public schools in 2004. In an interview with Ron Schachter on the DistrictAdministration Web site, Crew explained his decision to return to the post of superintendent, noting: "I came back into the superintendency largely because it's the best match, challenge, and satisfaction I can find in my career. The only other thing that probably rivals that would be my stint as a high school principal. I truly enjoy being in an environment where the energy and the tensions of raising children and educating them are what you work through."

Crew described his move from New York to Miami in the interview on the DistrictAdministration Web site by saying that "there's a very high set of expectations, partly borne out of the fact that I got a big salary, partly borne out of the fact that I'm from New York, partly borne out of the fact that I came with a national reputation." In the same interview, he added that "there's also a degree of cynicism toward people coming from the outside and coming from another major urban center. One of the tensions in coming from a big city like New York is: ‘Do you know it all? Do you have the Holy Grail, or are you willing to learn from us as well as contribute what we are trying to do here?’" To this, he replied: "I think I've done a fairly decent job of hitting the ground running and trying to learn where people have been. My critics would say I'm harsh, I'm too pushy—maybe that some of that New York pushiness that everyone always talks about is in evidence too much of the time. But this is a time to test. I don't think you get a long period of time to be new, to learn the culture, or to know enough about what to change and how to change it."

In an interview posted on the Public Broadcasting Services Web site, Crew discussed the concept of a public school crisis in the country, noting that the word "‘crisis’ would be applicable in some places. But I think it's a misnomer. I think the real enemy here isn't, quote, ‘public schools in crisis.’ That makes good camera-ready copy for somebody's journal. But the real issue is the tremendous variation between and among schools. In every city across this country, there's huge variation in the outcomes for kids. There are some that are doing extraordinarily well, and then you have some that are in the same system who are chronic occupiers of that lower rung of achievement."

Crew commented on the importance of the public education system in the United States in the same interview, saying: "The conversation about education just below the surface is about standards, and assessment, and curriculum, and so on. Just below that conversation is the real conversation: who will be part of the intellectual capital of this nation? Who will have access to the resources that that intellectual capital commands? Who will have access to the marketplace? And how will they access that marketplace? All of that is going to be predicated by who has computers, and who is using technology now, who's actually being taught at a level of literacy that would allow them to compete, technologically and academically, in a literate workplace. That is happening in America's public schools."

Crew published his first book, Only Connect: The Way to Save Our Schools, in 2007, with the assistance of Thomas Dyja. Crew explains in the book that personal integrity, workplace literacy, civic awareness, and academic proficiency are the key areas that schools need to focus on imparting to students. The book also describes his "Connected Schools" concept, in which students are put in more regular interaction with parents, teachers, business, arts, and the community in general.

Mark Gura, writing on the Paradigm Watch Web site, commented that "Crew is the genuine article, a dyed in the wool educator," adding that "he has left a trail of successes behind him and is an especially important role model for educational leaders at this point in time when more and more often non-educators, generally lawyers or managers from the world of corporate business, are entrusted with the futures of our young people." Gura noted: "In a sense, Only Connect represents Dr. Crew's throwing down a number of crucial gauntlets. For those directly involved in, or deeply concerned with, the future of education these will resonate as defining challenges." Francisco Alvarado, reviewing the book in the Miami New Times, relayed commentary from Miami-Dade County school board member Marta Perez, citing: "With all the time he has spent writing and promoting his book … how does he find the time to run our schools?" Alvarado also pointed out that Perez observed: "Many of these programs [mentioned in the book] were already being done by the district before he was hired. He just renamed, repackaged, and remarketed them." Alvarado concluded that "Only Connect is unlikely to have a profound effect on American education. But it might help Crew get a better job." Erica L. Foley, writing in Library Journal, found that "while his thoughts offer hope and rejuvenation, his clunky writing makes reading his book more challenging than it should be." A contributor to Publishers Weekly mentioned that it is "the personal anecdotes that stand out" in this book. Citing a story Crew shared about his father's work ethic, the contributor thought that readers may "believe that Crew has the grit and determination to make his reform plan work." Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush observed that "Crew provides many valuable resources, including a wide variety of free parenting classes."



Booklist, September 1, 2007, Vanessa Bush, review of Only Connect: The Way to Save Our Schools, p. 30.

Library Journal, August 1, 2007, Erica L. Foley, review of Only Connect, p. 98.

Miami Herald, February 15, 2008, Kathleen McGrory, "Rudy Crew Named Superintendent of the Year."

Miami New Times, September 20, 2007, Francisco Alvarado, review of Only Connect.

Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2007, review of Only Connect, p. 44.

Washington Post, May 2, 2007, Marc Fisher, "The Cold Splash of Reality, with a Side of Sizzle."


DistrictAdministration, (March 27, 2008), Ron Schachter, author interview.

Miami-Dade County School Web site, (March 27, 2008), author profile.

Paradigm Watch, (December 24, 2007), Mark Gura, review of Only Connect.

Public Broadcasting Services Web site, (March 27, 2008), author interview.

Rudy Crew Home Page, (March 27, 2008), author profile.