, Salem, MA

September 5, 2013

Crane: Strong believer in diversity


---- — This is part of a series of profiles of School Committee candidates in Salem. The Sept. 17 preliminary election will whittle eight candidates down to six.

SALEM — The two biggest influences on School Committee incumbent Janet Crane were her extended family and her years as a community college teacher.

“I came from a family of educators,” said Crane, who grew up in northern California. “Of my 12 aunts and uncles, six were educators ... and they talked educational policy.”

It was her eight years teaching geography at Bunker Hill Community College, however, that really opened her eyes.

“It was the first time I was around non-privileged students,” said Crane, who holds a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. “I realized it wasn’t about teaching them facts. It was about making a connection with them. That was not easy.”

Crane, who writes extensively on music, has done graduate field work in Costa Rica and Peru, taught in Brazil, and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

As a school board member, she was a strong advocate for the Arabic and Mandarin Chinese courses that will be offered this fall at Salem High.

Crane was principal author of the new student assignment policy, which seeks to balance the city schools by family income. In a few years, it will produce a more diverse and better school system, she said.

“I’m really proud of that,” she said. “I think that we are all enriched ... when we grow up with diversity. ... That’s the way the real world is.”

Tom Dalton can be reached at


Address: 12 Dow St.

Age: 69

Family: Single

Employment: Self-employed writer, consultant and editor

Education: Ferndale Union High School, Ferndale, Calif.; UCLA, B.A., Latin American studies; University of California at Berkeley, M.A. and Ph.D., geography; Northeastern University, certificate in public policy in education.

Community involvement: Founding member South Salem Neighborhood Association; founding member Salem Peace Committee; active in national and local politics.

Elective offices held: School Committee, 2006 to present