Crayton takes lead role on Niles school board

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Mary Crayton's actions show she always has children's best interests in mind.
And, as the new president of Niles Community Schools Board of Education, she now has a unique opportunity to assist the school district in its effort to provide the best educational experience possible for its students.
Originally from Missouri, Crayton moved to the Niles area in the 1960s.
From 1984 to present, she has worked with federally-funded employment and training programs and has supervised work training programs for adults.
Crayton is currently the chairperson for the Multi-Cultural Involvement Council in Niles, where she works with expelled students in the Niles community.
Crayton wrote the program in 1994 and has been involved with it since.
Crayton, who has already served two terms on the school board for a total of eight years, said she is comfortable in her new position, although she expects to learn more about her new role throughout the year.
She said Niles Community Schools means a lot to her, especially after having seen her daughter, a niece and nephews, as well as other people she cares about, graduate from the school district.
As school board president, she hopes to leave something valuable behind for coming generations.
Crayton said teachers have made a great impact in her own life.
She remembers struggling with math as a child but she had a teacher that took extra time to help her out.
Doug Law, the school district's superintendent, said Crayton has respect for education and the people who teach.
He also said she is greatly respected by other board members and a strong advocate for for children.
The two will get to know each other better throughout the coming school year as the president and superintendent meet and talk more often than other board members.
Crayton said priorities for the coming school year will be to manage the budget while continuing to provide a strong educational program, as well as implementing the strategic plan process.
A strategic planning committee consisting of 43 diverse members from the Niles community came up with 11 strategic goals the school district should work to achieve.
One goal has already been selected with the building and site improvement fund.
The school board hopes the fund will pass at a September election this year. Crayton is glad to welcome the school district's new teaching staff.
She is excited about the many new staff members and looks forward to the enthusiasm and energy they are bringing.
And, she is proud to be President of the school board.

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