Trustees name new top official

Published on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 13:41 - Written by Betty Waters

Tyler ISD trustees made it official Monday: Dr. Marty L. Crawford is the new district superintendent, effective immediately.

Crawford said he looks forward to working as hard as he possibly can.

 The school board voted 6-0 to appoint Crawford to take over the reins of the district from interim Superintendent Kim Tunnell, who has served since the departure of former Superintendent Gary Mooring for health reasons in early June.

 The board’s action had been anticipated since it named Crawford the lone finalist for the superintendent’s post three weeks ago. State law requires a school board to wait at least 21 days after choosing a lone finalist before formally voting to select a new superintendent.

 After the board’s vote to pass a motion by trustee R. Wade Washmon to hire Crawford, vice president Andy Bergfeld, who presided in the absence of the board president, said Crawford’s resume stood out among the 37 applications as somebody who could be the person the board was looking for.

The board saw in his experience - all the way from his own education and athletic career all the way up to being a coach and a principal and then being a superintendent - an energy and a drive to be successful, Bergfeld said.

 “So we took the community input on what they were looking for in a superintendent and tried to screen the applicants we had, and (Crawford) clearly went to the top two or three before we even met him,” Bergfeld said.

Then, the board went through the interview process to make sure that what was on paper matched up with what Crawford is in person.

“We really feel strongly that he is a bright star on his way up, and we are fortunate to have him,” Bergfeld said.

In the past, the board hired a search firm that did the legwork in the search for a superintendent. “I didn’t know if we would be able to do this (ourselves) and have it be as successful as it was,” Bergfeld said.

“His last interview was great, and it was the fit that we were looking for,” Bergfeld said. “We feel like he is going to meet the challenges in our district. We are glad to have Dr. Crawford and look forward to many years of working with (him) to make this district the best it can be.”

Crawford said that just as Tyler ISD chose him, he has chosen to come to Tyler and put his kids in school here. He said he and his family are excited about the move.

 Crawford told the board, “I look forward to working with an exceptional staff. There’s a lot of talent that’s already in the school district. I look forward to working with you (the board). Thank you for this opportunity.”

 Later, Crawford said in an interview that his formative years were spent in East Texas in Lindale and Carthage, and that he has been scrambling to find his way back to East Texas.

 “This professional opportunity (in Tyler) came up, and I’ve always loved Tyler and my family has always loved Tyler,” he said. “We choose Tyler ISD because we’ve got so many opportunities in Tyler to take advantage of not just on the academic side but on the social side as well.”

Saying he wants to help students of Tyler ISD achieve academic success, Crawford said, “We’ve got a lot of work to do with academic achievements. As an educator that’s exciting that there is so much work to do, because that means it’s going to be busy.”

 The board signed Crawford initially to a three-year contract at an annual salary of $198,000.

According to board attorney John Hardy, the contract also provides an $800 a month car allowance, a $200 a month communications allowance, the same insurance as other employees receive for $225 a month and 10 days vacation leave along with normal days off that other 12-month employees receive.

Crawford was one of 37 applicants for the top administrative position in Tyler ISD. The board interviewed six.

Crawford comes to Tyler ISD from West ISD, where he was superintendent for six years. He oversaw the recovery of West ISD from a fertilizer plant explosion in the Central Texas town in 2013 that killed 15 people, injured hundreds, destroyed three school campuses and leveled more than 150 houses.

West ISD has about 1,300 students compared to Tyler ISD’s more than 18,000

But Crawford has urban education experience from having served as a high school principal in Dallas ISD.

Crawford also has worked in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford and Highland Park school districts as well as in Oklahoma City public schools.

Crawford has a bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University, a master’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Crawford and his wife, Alanna, have three children: daughters Ashton, 17, a recent high school graduate; son Jackson, 12, who will be a seventh-grader this fall; and A.J., 4, who will start pre-kindergarten.


Staff Writer Emily Guevara contributed to this article.