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Recognizing Leadership: A Historical Honor Signals an Even Brighter Future

J. Alvin Wilbanks | CEO/Superintendent
Gwinnett County Public Schools

On December 6, 2018, the Gwinnett County Board of Education made history, winning the first-ever “Governance Team of the Year” award presented by the Georgia School Boards Association. The award seeks to recognize and encourage exemplary governance and leadership of the state’s public schools… the kind of governance and leadership that the Gwinnett County Board of Education has demonstrated consistently for the last quarter of a century.

It was especially gratifying to win the award in the last days of service for two outstanding public servants, Dr. Robert McClure and Daniel Seckinger, members of the School Board since January 1995. For 24 years they, along with their fellow members Carole Boyce, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Louise Radloff, provided dedicated, selfless commitment to ensuring the best possible education for every Gwinnett child. We applaud and respect them all for their legacy of excellent governance.

In January, we welcomed two new members to the Board, Everton Blair, Jr. and Steven Knudsen. Mr. Blair, a Gwinnett graduate of Shiloh HS, succeeds Dr. McClure as District IV representative. Mr. Knudsen, who assumed Mr. Seckinger’s seat in District II, is the father of four students who graduated from North Gwinnett HS. We have spent considerable time since the November election getting to know the two new members and preparing them for their consequential responsibilities as governance team members for the 12th largest school district in the nation.

The conversations have been encouraging! Mr. Blair and Mr. Knudsen have a genuine interest in continuing their predecessors’ record of success. I sense that as they follow in the footsteps of Mr. Seckinger and Dr. McClure, who served the students and taxpayers of Gwinnett County so well during times of dramatic growth and change, Mr. Knudsen and Mr. Blair want to honor the past while moving the school district forward. That bodes well for the Gwinnett County Board of Education and the organization it governs.

It also is a positive sign for the future of Gwinnett County, where the school district for years has been a major driver of economic development. The importance of high-quality, high-performing public schools to a community’s vitality cannot be overstated. The significance of effective governance in that regard is not lost on the members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education, veteran and new. With the five members of today’s School Board, I am confident we are well-positioned for a bright future!