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Extraordinary Leader: Jamal Crawford

The High Point Schools Partnership had the privilege of sitting down and talking with Dr. Jamal Crawford, principal of Kirkman Park Elementary School. Crawford is a Boston-Native who, after living abroad in Japan while serving in the Air Force and spending a year in Texas, found his way to the South and decided to stay. He moved to Charlotte at the start of high school and continued on in the Queen City receiving all three of his degrees at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. This is Crawford’s 21st year in Education and his 16th year as a building-level principal. He has taught at the high school level in Charlotte, served as an assistant principal for 5 years, and is currently in his 9th year at Kirkman Park.

Crawford, like many other principals in Title I schools, has had to adjust to major budget cuts. Kirkman Park lost over $17,000 in its annual budget and had to continue serving students with the reduced funds. Crawford decided to use a large portion of the Title I budget he did have to hire a Parent Coordinator who works alongside Communities in Schools. Their goal is to increase family engagement school-wide. This position works with the Parent Teacher Organization and writes grants to support students and teachers. In the short life of this position, Kirkman Park has already received grants to supplement their clothing closet as well as funds for a library replacement project.

Another area that Crawford was happy to highlight was Kirkman Park’s Spanish-immersion Program. This program will be further supported and developed by the upcoming SMART school bond. The local school system is looking into expanding this program to local middle and high schools so students can stay in High Point and receive this unique learning experience.

In addition to this program, the teachers of this school have proposed a school-wide book read. They will be reading The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies. Supporting this project is the wonderfully supportive librarian that serves the students of Kirkman Park. Librarian, Mary Nifong, also engages students by introducing kids to coding, 3D printing, and their “Maker Space” activity center.

Thank you Jamal for sitting down and talking with us. We look forward to continuing to talk with and highlight different High Point principals and all the good going on at their school.