Congratulations to America”s #1 Urban School District

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by J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent, Gwinnett County Public Schools

New York City is a place I have enjoyed visiting many times, but never more so than on October 19, 2010. That day, in a ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art, the Gwinnett County Board of Education and I heard the name Gwinnett County Public Schools called as US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the winner of The 2010 Broad Prize for Urban Education!

It was an awesome moment filled with a rush of emotions. The thrill of knowing that we had won was enhanced by a sense of immense pride in what our teachers and students had accomplished. These feelings were balanced with the humility of knowing that five outstanding school districts had been vying for the title and all were worthy contenders. There also was the sobering acknowledgment that we have a responsibility to never diminish our effectiveness in the classroom, which produced the student success that earned us this most prestigious award.

Overall, however, it was a joyous day because winning The Broad Prize has tremendous significance not only for the school district but also for Gwinnett County at large. A community holds a major economic development advantage if it is known for having a top-quality public school system. The Broad Prize distinguishes Gwinnett County Public Schools as the best urban school district in America in 2010. As such, we will have opportunities to showcase our schools and share the excellent work of our teachers and principals with other school districts that want to learn how we have been so effective in educating our diverse student population. Gwinnett County, Georgia, is recognized nationwide as one of public education”s success stories, and the whole community is entitled to celebrate.

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