Crystal Ellis, the first Black superintendent for Toledo Public Schools and the first Black basketball player at Bowling Green State University, died Monday, April 22, 2024. He was 91 years old.

Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Romules Durant said he was honored to have been able to get to know Dr. Ellis. He was a trailblazer and conceived a bill making it illegal to possess deadly weapons on school grounds, which was passed in June, 1992, by the Ohio House and Senate.

A statement from the TPS Board of Education and CEO/Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant on the passing of Crystal Ellis:

“Dr. Crystal Ellis was the first African American Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools and during his tenure, he set high standards and expectations for students and staff members. He was a mentor and a friend to many. Dr. Ellis saw the potential in every student and worked to help them become someone others liked and respected. He will be truly missed, but his legend will live on across our district as he was loved and revered by all who knew him. Our hearts and prayers are with his family.

The Toledo Public Schools Foundation mourns the passing of Dr. Crystal Ellis. His memory and legacy will forever live on through our mission at TPSF.

Read more about his life and accomplishments from The Toledo Blade here.