Update: The Celebration of Life service for Dr. Crawford Lewis will be held on Monday, Feb. 6, 11 a.m., at Saint Philip AM E Church, 240 Candler Road S.E., Atlanta. Visitation will be held on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, 12 noon to 6 p.m., at the Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes South DeKalb Chapel, 4347 Flat Shoals Pkway, Decatur. The service will be livestreamed: https://vimeo.com/event/2840602. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society, First Lithonia United Methodist Church Building Fund, 3099 Stone Mountain St., Lithonia and St. Philip AME Church Building Fund, 240 Candler Rd. S.E., Atlanta. For more information: 404-241-5656.
DEKALB COUNTY, GA—Dr. Crawford Lewis, a former superintendent of the DeKalb County School District, has passed away.
Dr. Lewis died on Saturday, Jan. 28, after a brief illness while hospitalized at Emory-DeKalb Medical Center. He was 68.
Close friends said Dr. Lewis had cancer and appeared to be improving while hospitalized but his condition changed suddenly.
Dr. Lewis served as superintendent from 2004 to 2010. He spent 33 years with the DeKalb County School District, beginning in 1997 as a Physical Education teacher at Montgomery Elementary School. He went on to climb the corporate ladder to become an assistant principal, principal, executive director and senior executive director. In the school system’s top spot, he oversaw 137 schools and centers comprised of more than 100,000 students in Georgia’s third-largest school district and one of the most culturally-diverse counties in the nation.
His theme for “A premier DeKalb, the Blueprint for Success” was a strategic road map for engaging and mobilizing resources toward a common goal of excellence.
From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Lewis led the charge in opening new schools and facilities throughout DeKalb, each having a distinct instruction focus in response to input and needs of the community:
Tucker Middle and Miller Grove High, 2004-2005; Oak View Elementary, 2005-2006: Champion Middle Theme School and McNair High School, 2006-2007; Chamblee, Peachtree and Stone Mountain Middle schools, 2007-2008; Flat Rock and Princeton Elementary schools an Ronald E. McNair Discovery School, 2008-2009; Dunwoody Elementary and Arabia Mountain High, Georgia’s First Silver LEE Certified Public School, 2009-2010.
A visionary who was recognized for his leadership and commitment to education, Dr. Lewis was honored nationally and locally. Among his accolades: DeKalb Schools Principal of the Year, recipient of the Milken Foundation’s National Education Award, NAACP Education Award, Outstanding Leadership by Leadership DeKalb and Who’s Who Guide to Atlanta’s Top Educational Leaders by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
When Dr. Lewis held press conferences and meetings with the media, he would address each reporter by their name, committing those names to memory.
Dr. Lewis was active in the community through various organizations including the DeKalb, Metro Atlanta and Georgia Chambers of Commerce; DeKalb Rotary Club; and the 100 Black Men of DeKalb County among others. As a member of Lithonia First United Methodist Church (UMC), he served as a food bank volunteer, administrative council chair, at-large delegate for the 2022 Annual UMC Conference and was selected as Church Lay Leader for 2023.
Dr. Lewis earned his bachelor’s degree from Clark College (Clark Atlanta University) and his masters, specialist and doctorate degrees from Georgia State University.
Dr. Lewis was born in Monticello, Georgia. He and his wife, Sanrda, have two adult children, Denise and Matthew, who both graduated from DeKalb County schools.
Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes and Crematory is handling the arrangements. More details to come.