Take Five – Checking in with Carol Crane, NMUSD board trustees president


Elected to the Newport-Mesa Unified Board (NMUSD) of Trustees in 2020 and voted as board president for 2024, Carol Crane had experience with NMUSD even before she was elected. All three of her children attended district schools, including Eastbluff Elementary School and Corona del Mar High School, where they received a strong education.

Stu News caught up with Crane to get a progress report and check into the plans for NMUSD until her term ends in December 2024.

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Courtesy of NMUSD

Carol Crane, NMUSD board trustees president for 2024

Q: What accomplishments during your term are you most proud of?

A: Lots to be proud of…Here are my top five!

–Being one of the first districts to return to full-time in-person instruction during COVID.

–Newport-Mesa’s 97% graduation rate; CDMHS 98%.

–Hiring our exceptional Superintendent, Dr. Smith.

–Co-founding the Community Alliance for Bike Safety (CABS), which brought community partners together to educate and develop awareness about bike safety, specifically e-bikes. We are most grateful for our partnership with the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) for deploying Officers Hamilton and Varela to our campuses for this campaign!

–Developing a Master Facilities Plan (MFP)

(Fun Fact: Did you know that the average age of our school sites is 64? NHHS was built in the 1930s.)

Q: Since you are Trustee in Area 3, which covers Back Bay High School, Corona del Mar Middle/High School and Eastbluff Elementary and a wide variety of ages, what have been your biggest challenges?

A: We are embracing the rise in English Learners within our school district. I have consistently advocated for the district to provide robust support, resources and services towards meeting each student’s needs to thrive.

Another focus is our partnership with parents in developing responsible digital citizens, by learning the positive and responsible use of social media. The board, at our 10/24/23 meeting, updated our mobile devices policy to disallow the use of any mobile/smart devices for elementary and middle school. Additionally, for the past three years, our Ed Services team, in partnership with our Ed Tech staff, have sponsored a virtual parent education series on “Raising Responsible Digital Citizens.”

Q: Initially, what was your motivation/inspiration for running for the board?

A: For three decades, my family and I have been deeply involved in Newport-Mesa.

All three of our children are Corona del Mar High School grads. Both my husband and I held various leadership positions in the PTA, the foundation and were sports boosters at Eastbluff Elementary and CDM Middle and High School. Gary was even a coach for the CDM Surf Team – what a great excuse to get in the water!

Professionally, I taught middle school social science in Irvine Unified and at Tarbut V’ Torah.

Once Gary and I became empty nesters, I wanted to pursue my passion for education at an elevated level – it just felt like a natural path for me to serve on the school board.

Q: What do you hope to leave behind as your legacy with the board?

A: A robust Career Technical Education (CTE) Pathway that offers choices for all students.

–A continuous commitment to academic excellence.

–The execution of the Master Facilities Plan.

–A district culture that encourages and welcomes parent and community engagement.

Q: What plans are in the works for the school district?

A: There are always so many phenomenal things occurring throughout our school district, however, two stand out to me:

–Our comprehensive district-wide maintenance and Master Facilities Plan is in the final stages of completion. By prioritizing maintenance and facility upgrades, we are upholding our commitment to maintaining and modernizing schools and district facilities for optimal use to improve safety and current standards.

–The evolution and improvement of our district systems and processes relating to technology in education.


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