Kent City — In college, Bill Crane never dreamed of working in administration. He planned to spend his whole career in a classroom. Last week, he moved into the superintendent’s office in Kent City.
Crane’s career in education began at Kelloggsville’s middle school and high school, where he taught social studies for six years. Over time, he took on a variety of leadership roles that inspired him to move into administration.
“There was something about the leadership side of working in administration that was a motivator for myself … it was something that I felt comfortable in.”
An opening for athletic director and football coach in Kent City was too good to pass up. In January 2011, he started as athletic director and the high school’s assistant principal. By October, he was the high school’s principal. In March of the following year, he was asked to also take on the middle school. He’s been assistant superintendent since June 2020.
‘I’ve been interviewing for the superintendent job for the last 11 years.’– Bill Crane
His rapid rise through administrative positions in the district was “very unexpected,” Crane said. “I learned a lot in a short amount of time.”
A Decade-long Interview
When Crane took over as principal of Kent City High School, the school had been on a persistently low achieving list for two years.
“We completely rewrote our plan, and just went to work on that,” he said. Although measurements have changed slightly, Crane said the school has risen from the bottom 5% to as high as the 81st percentile.
In January, the Kent City school board put out an internal posting in search of candidates for superintendent.
“I’ll fully admit I had a decent opportunity because I was the only one in the district that applied,” Crane said. “I was the only one that interviewed.”
His close ties to the community and inside understanding of the district’s administrative offices made him a natural fit. “I did have more than one person make the comment that I’ve been interviewing for the superintendent job for the last 11 years,” Crane said.
“I won’t deny I’m very blessed with this being my first opportunity. Because I know that it’s not the easiest position to get, being superintendent … this was definitely something that I felt I worked my way into over the last however-many years.”
Crane said there’s “a lot of reflection right now on where our district has been, and definitely some conversations on where we’d like the district to go and accomplish over the next 5-10 years. “First and foremost, continuing the good work that’s taking place. Focusing on what’s doing best for kids.”
With two children enrolled at the high school, Crane feels he has a personal stake in “making sure we utilize every opportunity for the kids that we have in this community.”
He said he looks forward to helping the district implement a multi-tiered systems of support framework – a framework schools use to identify and help students who are struggling – in partnership with Kent ISD, as well as finding ways to support students through the ongoing challenges raised by the pandemic.