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  • AJ Crabill is the Director of Governance for the Council of the Great City Schools where he leads school board supports for the nation’s largest urban school systems. Improving student outcomes is Airick journey Crabill’s relentless focus. His passion to improve student outcomes is rooted in his past: bounced in and out of foster care, he attended eleven different schools as a child. 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 States' most vulnerable youth.

    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; and Collaborator with the Effective School Boards Initiative, a nationwide school board research consortium. 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.

    FUN FACTS: A former tech entrepreneur, when not providing education leadership and coaching across the nation, he still enjoys coding, training high schoolers in student-led restorative practices, experimenting with flavorful recipes, serving as a CASA volunteer, and zooming around on his electric unicycle. He has helped raise five young people.