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Former Miami-Dade schools chief Rudy Crew set to take Oregon education post

Rudy Crew, who oversaw the opening of new Miami-Dade schools and the overhaul of curricula as head of one of the largest school systems in the country, is set to become Oregon’s chief education officer.

A state panel is expected to give him the newly created job Thursday.

During Crew’s time as Miami-Dade superintendent from 2004 to 2008, the school district built 29 new schools, overhauled some academic programs, reduced crowding and helped more than half of the county’s schools achieve “A” status.

His tenure was also tumultuous. Crew had a strained relationship with much of the School Board, fought the teachers union over frozen wages and stirred controversy with Miami-Dade’s Cuban exile community. When he was forced out, the district faced a budget crisis - $4 million in reserves for a multibillion-dollar budget.

In Oregon, his responsibilities as chief education officer will include overseeing and managing elementary through college education in the state, made up of 197 school districts, 17 community college districts and seven public universities.

“Throughout his career, he has had a focus on students as his primary lens,” said Julia Brim-Edwards, chair of the screening panel. “He’s had the courage to lead in very difficult arenas.”

The Oregon job is centered on a 2025 goal to have 40 percent of students with college degrees, 40 percent with technical degrees and 20 percent with high school diplomas leading to a job.

“There isn’t another position like this in the country that spans all of the levels,” Brim-Edwards said.

Crew started his career as coordinator of magnet programs/staff development at Boston English High School in Boston. From there, he steadily worked his way up over about 40 years to higher positions with larger enrollments.

Crew served as chancellor of the New York City Department of Education from 1995 to 1999 and was ousted after he clashed with then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. After his time in Miami-Dade, he joined University of Southern California Rossier, where he is a professor of clinical education. He did not return two calls to his university office on Wednesday.