Principal Crane says goodbye

Principal Peggy Crane (photo by Hoyt Smith)

Principal Crane says goodbye

Miramar Ranch Elementary School is losing something precious: an experienced principal who guided the school for 10 years.

Her name is Peggy Crane, and to truly appreciate the value of her continuity in Scripps Ranch, consider that principal turnover is a serious issue across the country. The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) reports that the average tenure of principals nationally is four years, and that only 11 percent of principals remain at one school for 10 years or more. In its most recent study, LPI also found that 18 percent of public school principals leave after just one year.

“Saying goodbye is difficult,” said Crane, who has been with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) for 30 years, as both a teacher and an administrator. “I have never worked for one school for 10 years in a row before. It’s been an incredible run.”

The move was Crane’s choice.

“It was time for a change,” she said. “Time to bring in a fresh set of eyes.”

Crane will become principal at Fay Elementary, a year-round school in the San Diego community of Rolando that has been without a permanent principal since October 2018.

Fay Elementary is a Title I school that receives federal funding to help underprivileged children meet state academic standards. Crane said she is “looking forward to the challenge” at a school where an ethnically diverse student body speaks several languages, including Spanish, Somali, Swahili, Karen (Burmese) and Tagalog.

Working in public education has been “a second career” for Crane, originally a homemaker who started teaching at age 35. The stay-at-home mom and wife of a U.S. Navy pilot got her start by volunteering in her daughter’s elementary school classroom. She has since served a diverse group of schools and communities, from San Carlos and Barrio Logan to City Heights and Scripps Ranch, and “loved every minute of it.”

The veteran principal described her job at Miramar Ranch Elementary School for the past 10 years as “a juggling act involving parents, students, staff, budget and politics.” But she added that “it’s easy if you keep your students’ needs front and center.”

Principal Crane said her greatest accomplishments at Miramar Ranch include helping the school become a California Distinguished School last year. The award is presented to schools that have made exceptional gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education.

She is also proud of Miramar Ranch Elementary’s commitment to the Whole Child approach to education. Developed by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development in 2014, the Whole Child model emphasizes social and educational aspects, integrating education, public health and school health to improve learning and health.

Additionally, Crane has managed, through foundation and grant money, to enhance performing arts programs at Miramar Ranch – specifically music.

“We’ve also added a computer lab and a sciences lab, thanks to some very supportive parents,” she said.

During Crane’s tenure, a newer, taller perimeter fence was built around her campus. The fence reflects her commitment to student safety, but also showcases her ability to balance sometimes conflicting issues.

“It was Important to keep the school secure, but at the same time we didn’t want it to feel like a prison,” she said.

What will Principal Crane miss the most after 10 years in Scripps Ranch? “The staff, the family, and the kids. Especially the kids. I mean, look at my wall,” she said, pointing to a virtual floor-to-ceiling collage of photos, post-its, paintings and notes representing years of gratitude and personal relationships.

“I’ve made such great friends and such great memories,” she added. “It’s really been a great experience here at the Ranch and I will miss everybody.”

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