ROFF – Stephen Crawford is used to being the man in charge, so to speak.

Wednesday evening, however, he proudly took a back seat to someone he has known and respected for more than three decades – his wife, Paula.

Paula Crawford, married to (Byng Public School Superintendent) Stephen Crawford for 32 years, was named Sulphur Public School Superintendent Wednesday, creating an unusual scenario that should make for some interesting dinner conversation in years to come. The Crawfords are the only current husband-wife superintendents in the state, and there are sure to be some “friendly” rivalries in the coming months.

“I know one thing that happened for sure the moment the Sulphur School Board picked her for the job,” Stephen Crawford laughed after the announcement became official. “I just got demoted in my own house. I used to be the best superintendent in the family, and now suddenly I’m second best.

“I know one thing for sure, and that would be that Sulphur now has the prettiest superintendent in the state,” he said.

Paula Crawford, mother of triplets who graduated from Roff High School in 1996, joined the Sulphur administrative staff in July 2006 as assistant superintendent. Her predecessor, Keith Foreman, resigned in January and Crawford took the reins on an interim basis. She then submitted her resume’ for the top job and was hired Wednesday to take the position permanently.

She said she had learned a great deal about school administration, and life in general, from man she considers “the best there is.”

“I can joke and tease him all I want, but the truth is he has been my role model for so many things for so many years,” she said. “And that’s certainly not going to change now. He is such a great man and great administrator, and such a wealth of knowledge.”

Stephen Crawford has served as superitendent at Moss and Roff in the past, and has been Byng superintendent for six years. He has worked with his wife at various times during his career, noting that she had once served as his secretary.

“When it comes to knowing a school and how a school works from the ground up, she’s done everything possible,” he said. “She knows what it’s like, and understands everyone’s perspective. Not every superintendent can say that,” he said.

There is another ironic little twist to the current “two superintendent” situation. Under Oklahoma State Department of Education gudelines, first-year superintendents are required to work their first year under the supervision of a more experienced administrator, known as a mentor. Paula Crawford’s mentor, of course, sits across from her every night at the dinner table.

“”He’s really been my mentor in so many ways for the past 32 years. And, when it comes to school administration, there’s no one in the world I’d rather learn from.”

Stephen Crawford deflects his wife’s praise with humor, and then adds his own poignant comments, showing his admiration for his new colleague.

“They got a great deal over in Sulphur,” he said proudly.

She may be new at the job, but she’ll be the best. I’ve admired her for so long as my wife and friend. This is just another reason to admire her, and I do, very much.”