Great On Their Behalf: Why School Boards Fail, How Yours Can Become Effective

Great On Their Behalf: Why School Boards Fail, How Yours Can Become Effective

By Airick Journey Crabill

Published 08 Dec 2023

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School systems nationwide are struggling to excel as they lurch from crisis to crisis-teacher shortages, school shootings, high turnover rates, weak discipline systems, and more. These things can pull the focus of school boards away from why school systems exist: to educate students.

Airick Journey Crabill has a track record of helping school systems improve student literacy, numeracy, and career and college readiness rates while simultaneously strengthening the school's financial and operational standing. Great on Their Behalf is your practical guide to igniting the transformation of your school board and enabling it to create the conditions for improving what students know and can do.

Step by step, the exercises in this book inspire board members to adopt a student-outcomes-focused mindset as they reevaluate their impact on those they serve. It challenges them to explore effective ways to focus on what students need.

Then it provides the necessary knowledge and skills for school boards to empower their students for success.
Improving student outcomes is Airick Journey Crabill's relentless focus. AJ currently serves as the Conservator at DeSoto (TX) Independent School District. During his guidance, DeSoto made double digit literacy gains and improved from having F ratings in areas of academics, finance, and governance to the district earning B ratings. He's also Education Faculty at the Leadership Institute of Nevada where he trains cohorts of aspiring principals and superintendents; Collaborator with the Effective School Boards Initiative, a nationwide school board research consortium; and National Director of Governance at the Council of the Great City Schools in Washington, DC where he leads school board supports for the nation's largest urban school systems.

He served as Deputy Commissioner at the Texas Education Agency and he spearheaded reforms as board chair of Kansas City (MO) Public Schools that doubled the percentage of students who are literate and numerate and, eventually, led KCPS to full accreditation for the first time in decades. Crabill received the Education Commission of the State's James Bryant Conant Award, which recognizes extraordinary individual contributions to education, was a finalist for CGCS' Green-Garner Award, recipient of the KC NAACP's Lucile Bluford Special Achievement Award, and recipient of KCPS Education Foundation's Loyalty to Scholars Award.

His passion to improve student outcomes is rooted in his past: raised in and out of foster care, he attended eleven schools before graduating. He attended urban, suburban and rural schools; private, public, and parochial schools; lived with white families and families of color; lived in racist communities and inclusive communities; experienced loving homes and homelessness. Guided by the idea that student outcomes don't change until adult behaviors change and drawing on his intimate familiarity with the triumphs and terrors of America's safety nets for children, he has devoted much of his adult life to advocating for the well-being of the United State's most vulnerable youth.

A former tech startup entrepreneur and avid volunteer, when AJ is not providing education leadership and coaching across the nation, he still enjoys coding, training high schoolers in student-led restorative practices, experimenting with flavorful vegan recipes in his kitchen, serving as a CASA volunteer, and zooming around on his electric unicycle. Inspired by his parents who fostered more than 80 children, Crabill has mentored dozens of young people, has helped raise five young people, and will not be surprised when God sends another young person to his open door.

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  • Author Airick Journey Crabill
  • ISBN 9781398389762
  • No. of Pages 232
  • Format Paperback
  • Publication Date 08 Dec 2023