Nominee Answers: Tahirah Crawford

Tahirah Crawford

Tahirah Crawford
Director of College Placement

People's Preparatory Charter School (NJ)

The nominees were asked to address the topics listed below:

  • How might your personal and professional experience inform your work on the NACAC Board?
  • What do you believe to be the greatest challenges facing the college counseling and admission profession and why?  Identify factors we should consider relative to these challenges as well as potential ways to problem-solve. 
  • What are the greatest challenges specific to NACAC that the board needs to consider?  Why should these be the top priority for the board?

As we move further into a new era of NACAC with a new CEO, new staff members, first ever roles and now unforeseen or encountered challenges we must not lose sight that our purpose as an organization remains unchanged. To serve in the best interests of our students which in turn will promote the health and longevity of our profession. NACAC has begun to make the necessary adjustments and we need to continue to build upon this momentum.

If we are honest with ourselves, we all know there are many voices not present at the NACAC table. Due to this we have an obligation and responsibility to do whatever we can to increase the diversity of institutions and professionals that makeup our membership. Whether it be introducing new levels of membership, working more closely with school districts’ leadership, or harnessing the power of technology to narrowly tailor programming, we must continue to reach large swaths of practitioners. It is not enough to move forward with trying to shape the future of a profession without the input from the array of professionals it is composed of. Affiliates, I am sure, will be a valuable asset in these efforts and another area where organic collaboration seems to exist. This also means that we simply must take time to listen. I believe we need to give members and non-members the chance to just share, vent, or celebrate. To have an engaged member body is to have members that feel they are represented, and their needs addressed. To do this, as a professional association, it must offer something of value and substance. Thankfully, NACAC has and can expand its utility to meet the unique needs of many different practitioners. Whether it is serving as a retention tool for bright stars in the profession, aiding public school counselors who are seeing budgets and staff shrink, independent school offices who are feeling various external pressures, or college enrollment officers being hit with board and faculty demands and expectations.

It will be important for the NACAC Board of Directors to represent both practitioners and students. It will be of the utmost importance for the Board of Directors to ensure NACAC remains solvent and relevant. Making sure it has the resources to not only serve its membership but to have a far-reaching arm of advocacy and policy. My hope is that the Board of Directors can inject a new burst of energy and enthusiasm amongst our membership to be active and influential in the policy and regulatory process. We must continue to go the way of other “powerhouse” associations whose presence is felt in government halls and are sought after before legislation is drafted to be a part of the crucial decision making. 

We are also facing pervasive and harmful misinformation tactics that are directly attacking the mental health and wellness of our students. We must combat the damaging messages students and families are receiving about everything from coursework to testing to the value of higher education. It will be on us as an organization and member body to help turn down the rhetoric around what determines worth and achievement. We must start a campaign to bring awareness to the harm caused by many of the false beliefs about the college admissions process. Like many of the grassroots and social campaigns that have promoted social change in other areas of our culture we must do the same. NACAC should be the standout voice of rejecting harmful practices that lead to mental duress. 

All of this leads me to detail what qualifications I have that enable me to be an ideal servant leader for our beloved NACAC at this time. My proven record of assisting other organizations with fundraising and diversifying revenue sources will be valuable to NACAC’s journey on building long-term sustainable financial sources. Past experience with public relations and promotional campaigns allow me to offer suggestions on building awareness or even statements for media outlets. A history of writing institutional policies, systems and procedures allow me to serve as a Director that will work in support to and compliment of the full-time staff and work with the goal of sustainability and reach. I have previously advocated on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of society surrounding issues chiefly impacting young people. It will not be new to me to take on assisting with government relations. Most importantly, I am here, accessible, reliable, and willing. Agile and flexible, able to meet the demands of the role. Not focused on my own personal agenda but on doing what is best for the organization.  

I look forward to implementing the recommendations the leadership deems fit from the Ad Hoc Committee on Leadership in College Admission as well as working to minimize the negative impacts the pandemic will have on our students and professionals. For example, we are years away from figuring out how to support our college members as the decision-making trends and patterns forecasted pre-pandemic will change. The economic, physical, and emotional toll of the pandemic will continue to play out on families. I look forward to offering insight as college admissions moves away from the usual predictors such as test scores to new hopefully more inclusive factors that take into consideration the almost two-year disruption in schooling for students as they knew it. 

I am humbled by the opportunity to have been a part of this process and the platform to “speak truth to power” and must express my sincere gratitude for welcoming me into the profession and giving me the development to be successful. Thank you in advance for the support. Onward!


Return to Tahirah Crawford's main nominee page. 

Review Tahirah Crawford's statement. 

Review Tahirah Crawford's biographical information.

View Tahirah Crawford's speech. 

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