John L. Crew


December 08, 2007|By [Frederick N. Rasmussen]

When John L. Crew, then deputy superintendent for planning, research and evaluation, stepped into the vacuum created by the firing of city schools Superintendent Roland N. Patterson in 1975, he said he planned to stay in the position only five years.

"I stayed two more years than I planned," said Crew, a certified professional psychologist, in an interview from his Ashburton home the other day. "When I stepped down in 1982, I was awfully tired."

During his tenure, he restored relative calm to city schools in the wake of the turmoil that marked his predecessor's years, and achieved rising student achievement test scores.

In an article at the time, The Sun described him as one of the "deans of big-city superintendents," who had left a job that was a "psychological and physical killer," and quite possibly the "toughest job in American public life."

"That was all 25 years ago. I tried to make a contribution, and I think I succeeded," he said. "When I was superintendent, I used to say, `Forget about a lot of planning. You've got to get your hands dirty and touch people.'"

Crew gives high marks to Andres Alonso, the new city schools CEO, who was hired last summer.

"I like the new superintendent because he has a similar background to mine. He worked in poor neighborhoods and likes special-education kids," he said.

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