Familiar face tapped as ACPS superintendent

By Erich Wagner (File photo)

The Alexandria City School Board revealed last week that interim Superintendent Alvin Crawley will helm the public school district on a permanent basis.

Crawley began overseeing Alexandria City Public Schools in October, just a few months after the abrupt retirement of Morton Sherman, who stepped down only a few days before classes started. The board, which received more than 50 applications for the position, is expected to formally vote on his appointment at its meeting Thursday.

ACPS spent $22,500 on the services of consulting firm BWP & Associates to conduct a search for the district’s new top administrator.

Crawley previously served as interim superintendent in Prince George’s County, where he actively sought to permanently secure the top job. But he bowed out of the running — and resigned — after a shakeup of that school district’s structure. He also was deputy chief of the District’s special education department and held various administrative roles within Arlington County Public Schools.

ACPS spokeswoman Kelly Alexander said Crawley was ill Tuesday and unavailable for comment before press time. Despite repeated requests for a one-on-one interview, the Times has been unable to reach Crawley since his appointment to the interim superintendent job last year.

“I am unequivocally honored to have this opportunity,” Crawley wrote in a press release. “As superintendent, I plan to continue to be very visible, responsive and accountable to all ACPS stakeholders. We have begun serious, thoughtful efforts to enhance the educational experience for our students, and I will work tirelessly to continue to move this division forward.”

Board vice chairman Chris Lewis declined to comment on Crawley’s appointment ahead of Thursday’s vote.

Chairwoman Karen Graf did not return repeated calls for comment, but said in a statement that Crawley has been professional and solutions-oriented since joining the district.

“Since Dr. Crawley arrived in Alexandria, he impressed us with his calm, collaborative and positive style while working towards solutions that are best for all our children,” Graf wrote. “Our board unanimously selected Dr. Crawley from a pool of top candidates and we are thrilled to have him lead ACPS.”

Crawley hit the ground running upon his appointment as interim superintendent, reconsolidating the city’s five middle schools back into two — undoing a landmark initiative of his predecessor in the process — and presenting a budget proposal to the board.

But challenges remain. City Manager Rashad Young’s proposed operating budget for fiscal 2015 only includes an additional $5 million in funding for the district, $2.4 million less than Crawley requested. And the embattled Jefferson-Houston school still faces the possibility of state takeover by Richmond’s Opportunity Educational Institution.

Alexandria PTA Council president Melynda Wilcox, though, is upbeat about the board’s decision to bring Crawley on permanently.

“I’ve been very impressed with Dr. Crawley in the few interactions with him that I’ve had,” she said. “I think he will have a good rapport with parents, and I am glad that he was present as interim superintendent at times when the school board was making very important decisions about future of ACPS.”

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