a  j     c   r   a   b   i   l   l

student outcomes don't change until adult behaviors change

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a  j     c   r   a   b   i   l   l




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Student outcomes don't change until adult behaviors change.  
Changing adult behaviors requires new mindsets, new knowledge, and/or new skills. My intention is to transform student outcomes through the transformation of adult mindsets, knowledge, and skills -- starting with my own.

Improving student outcomes is Airick Journey Crabill’s relentless focus. AJ currently serves as the Conservator (Receiver) 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 all B ratings. He serves as Education Faculty at the Leadership Institute of Nevada where he trains cohorts of aspiring principals and superintendents to be intensely focused on improving student outcomes by changing their adult behavior; 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. 

Previously, 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 in our great nation. In receiving the James Bryant Conant Award, Crabill joins the prestigious ranks of distinguished professionals in education, including Sal Kahn (2016), Linda Darling-Hammond (2010), Thurgood Marshall (2004) and Marian Wright-Edelman (1987). In addition, he was a finalist for CGCS’ Green-Garner Award, recipient of the KC NAACP’s Lucile H. Bluford Special Achievement Award, and recipient of KCPS Education Foundation’s Loyalty to Scholars Award.   

He is the author of, “Great On Their Behalf: Why School Boards Fail, How Yours Can Be Effective” which is due out in February 2023, “Effective School Boards Framework: A Practitioner’s Manual For School Board Leaders Wanting To Improve Student Outcomes” which is due out in May 2023, and “Rogue School Board Member’s Handbook” which is due out in August 2023.  

Crabill has also served on the board of the Missouri School Boards Association, the executive committee of the Council of the Great City Schools, the Policy Committee for the National School Boards Association, a Visiting Fellow with Education Pioneers, an instructor for the Texas Education Policy Institute, and chair of the annual conference for the International Policy Governance Association. Crabill currently serves on the board of Govern for Impact, the lead international association promoting effective governance practices, and an advisory board member of SXSW Edu, the nation's premier conference fostering innovation in education. Crabill has provided governance training to school districts nationwide to help refocus school board members on the core mission of improving student outcomes. Crabill has worked with and supported numerous universities, colleges, corporate boards, non profit boards, state leaders, municipal leaders, and local education leaders.  

In addition to his work in governance, Crabill has worked with municipalities, school districts, and schools across the country to implement restorative discipline / restorative practices, with a special emphasis on training students to implement peer-led mediations and restorative circles within their schools. Interwoven with the restorative practice work has been a strong focus on creating awareness of culturally responsive pedagogy and proficiency with its use, particularly in middle and high schools.  Prior to his work in education, as an entrepreneur Crabill founded and/or participated in half a dozen tech startups across multiple industries. Crabill remains actively involved with startups in which he is currently invested and/or serving as a board member.  

To give back to the community, Crabill has been a Seedling mentor, a CASA volunteer, a Big with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, chair of Mazuma Credit Union's supervisory committee, treasurer of the Missouri Democratic Party, board member for a LULAC National Education Service Center, board member of MorningStar Missionary Baptist's Development Corporation, an appointee to the Public Improvements Advisory Committee overseeing the city's capital improvement expenditures, a member of the Mayor's Lightrail Taskforce, vice president of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, vice chair of the Black Archives of MidAmerica, and a board member of Joy in the Journey Ministries.   

Raised in and out of foster care from birth until high school, Crabill bounced around enough to have attended 11 schools prior to graduation. 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 our nation’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 and very spicy vegan recipes in his kitchen, serving as a CASA volunteer, and zooming around Austin, TX 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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