Crowley’s Ridge Academy (CRA) has selected Terry Austin to serve as its Administrator, CRA Board President Christie Jordan announced Thursday. The announcement caps a five-month search process for the school’s next leader.
Austin, 48, has served as the school’s Director of Development for four years and is a 1990 graduate of CRA. He will follow Raymond Lasley, who has served CRA as Superintendent for three years.
“The board is very grateful for Raymond’s love for CRA and his commitment to the school,” Jordan said. Lasley came out of retirement after decades as a school administrator to lead CRA on a part-time basis. He typically worked full-time hours out of a desire to improve the school, Jordan said. “We are deeply appreciative of Raymond for his generosity of spirit and tireless efforts.”
Austin’s background is in non-profit communications and leadership. Prior to his work at CRA, he spent four years as Director of the Foundation at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould, and seven years as Communications Director at Children’s Homes, Inc., in Paragould. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arkansas State University.
The hire reflects an intentional shift toward a new organizational model for CRA’s leadership, Jordan said.
“CRA has a wealth of academic experience in its principals, Mack Ramsey and Wayne Freer,” Jordan said. “They will continue to be counted on to provide educational leadership. The board has tasked Terry with concentrating on strategic management of the organization as a whole — streamlining operations, strengthening communications, and positioning CRA for both short- and long-term growth.”
Austin, who will assume the new role on June 1, said he’s looking forward to the opportunity.
“We have a lot of people who love CRA and are deeply invested in the school,” Austin said. “I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and supporters of the school to build on the great things accomplished at CRA over its nearly 70-year history.”