36 Years Well Served: School Board President Jim Crawford Steps Down

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36 Years Well Served: School Board President Jim Crawford Steps Down

State Representative Judy Ward, Mr. Crawford's daughter Kelly Crawford Fedeli, Mr. Crawford's wife Bonnie Crawford, Jim Crawford, and State Representative Jim Gregory were all on hand to honor Board President Jim Crawford for his 36 years of service to TASD

State Representative Judy Ward, Mr. Crawford's daughter Kelly Crawford Fedeli, Mr. Crawford's wife Bonnie Crawford, Jim Crawford, and State Representative Jim Gregory were all on hand to honor Board President Jim Crawford for his 36 years of service to TASD

Sally Woomer

State Representative Judy Ward, Mr. Crawford's daughter Kelly Crawford Fedeli, Mr. Crawford's wife Bonnie Crawford, Jim Crawford, and State Representative Jim Gregory were all on hand to honor Board President Jim Crawford for his 36 years of service to TASD

Sally Woomer

Sally Woomer

State Representative Judy Ward, Mr. Crawford's daughter Kelly Crawford Fedeli, Mr. Crawford's wife Bonnie Crawford, Jim Crawford, and State Representative Jim Gregory were all on hand to honor Board President Jim Crawford for his 36 years of service to TASD

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After 36 years of service to the Tyrone Area School District, School Board President James Crawford presided over his final meeting on Monday, December 2, 2019.

“Mr. Crawford’s leadership on the school board will be missed,” said acting superintendent Leslie Estep, “His calm demeanor and thoughtful nature have been a valuable asset. He has a way of making students and visitors to the board meetings feel welcomed and heard. He is a true gentleman.”

“Jim has been a great friend and mentor, I can truly say that working with Jim over my 26 years on the board has been an honor. The district will surely miss him. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I wish Jim and his wife Bonnie all the best,””

— Former Board Vice President Brian Bressler

 

Through tragedy and triumph, Crawford proved his unwavering dedication to the district. Fellow board member Brian Bressler had nothing but praise for Crawford, who he considers a mentor and friend.

“I can truly say that working with him over my 26 years on the board has been an honor,” said Bressler, who served as vice president under Crawford for many years, “The district will surely miss him. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I wish Jim and his wife Bonnie all the best.”

Even before he began his service to the district, Crawford was familiar with the ins and outs of the school board because his father served on the board before him.

Crawford’s own service began in 1983 when former Superintendent Bill Miller called and asked him to consider running for the board. 

While Mr. Crawford has directed the board through its distinguished past, he also experienced hardship. Through his 36 years of service, Tyrone School District has been faced with various challenges.

In the early 1990s, Crawford and the board tackled the merger of Lincoln, Logan, Adams, and Warriors Mark schools into one school. While it was a controversial decision, the consolidation of these local schools allowed the district to open an efficient, state of the art elementary school building to better accommodate the district’s students.

As difficult as the school consolidation issue was, the John Black-Devon Financial Crisis was probably the biggest challenge the board faced during Crawford’s tenure.

In 1997, Tyrone Area School District, along with over 70 other school districts across Pennsylvania, lost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars invested through Devon Capital Management. The Securities and Exchange Commission determined that Devon Financial perpetrated a fraudulent scheme which resulted in the loss of millions of dollars invested by school districts throughout western and central Pennsylvania. Fortunately, Crawford and his fellow board members were able to recover the district’s money with assistance from the district’s legal team, superintendent, and business administrator.

His calm demeanor and thoughtful nature have been a valuable asset.  He has a way of making students and visitors to the board meetings feel welcomed and heard.  He is a true gentleman”

— Acting Superintendent Leslie Estep

Crawford leaves behind a legacy of dedication as he helped the district to navigate the many changes in the district over the last 36 years. His service to Tyrone has left a great impact on the school.

It was under Crawford’s leadership that Tyrone Area High School has won many academic awards, including a Blue Ribbon Award from the US Department of Education in 2015.

Financially the district has been very prudent under his leadership. Despite undergoing several major construction projects during his tenure, unlike many cash-strapped school districts, the Tyrone Area School District is debt-free with a significant cash reserve.

Mr. Crawford has also supported staff and students alike during his service on the school board. Over the years, Crawford has attended hundreds of sporting events, musicals, and even sat in on classes. He has been dedicated to making Tyrone Area School District the best it can be for its staff and students. 

“He’s been here [the district] through all the ebbs and flows. Events that weren’t always pleasant such as the John Black financial crisis, he stood by and for the administration while the issue was dealt with; being the faithful steward to the district taxpayers and students,” said board member Randy Miles.

That kind of character is not easily found and is what made him such a great board president and public servant. Crawford always put the interests of taxpayers, students, and staff first. The constituents to which he served were his top priority. He knew how to get things accomplished and was willing to work with whoever took to do so.

“On behalf of the students at Tyrone High School, we would like to thank James Crawford for his service and dedication to the board. His expertise, leadership skills, and selflessness will be greatly missed,” said senior school board representative Brent McNeel.

James Crawford resigned from the School Board last Monday after 36 years of service.

Sally Woomer
State Representative Jim Gregory presents James Crawford with a citation for his 36 years of service to the Tyrone Area School District.