In a surprise move, Gwinnett County School Board Chair, Everton Blair, Jr. will not seek reelection in 2022. Blair, a Democrat, was the first Black person elected to Gwinnett County School board in 2018 Blair, joined the board at the time when he was the youngest member. Since then, two other Democratic members of color have joined him on the five-person board, creating a split with the Democrats in the majority and two white Republicans in the minority.
“As a product of this school system and Gwinnett’s first Black, youngest-ever, and first openly gay board representative and board chairman, the weight I felt in this role compelled me to stay focused on the leadership levers that would have the greatest positive impact on our community. That focus helped to sift through the noise and instead just work hard to deliver results for our students, staff, and community.”Everton Blair, Jr., Gwinnett County Schools Board Chairperson
Blair’s announcement comes just days after the brakes were pulled on a legislative effort to make the Gwinnett County School Board nonpartisan and reconfigure district lines with hopes to draw current board members out of their area.
“I want to make this decision now so that we can be proactive in supporting a member of our community to represent us well on the school board.”Everton Blair, Jr., Gwinnett County Schools Board Chairperson
During his tenure as the Board Chairperson, Blair navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and voted to terminate former Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks’ employment contract 11 months early.
“Amid a global pandemic, historic elections, leadership transitions, racial reckonings and orchestrated attempts to disrupt our progress, our board has been successful,” he said. “We will continue to be. The courageous actions that have transpired in just the last three years are a testament to what committed leadership can yield: bridging the gap between the old and the new, working together across lines of difference to find common ground, creating shared experiences for our diversity to be our strength and stepped out to lead with conviction even if you are alone. We certainly have more work to do, but we are in an outstanding position, with the right leadership in place, to move forward.”Everton Blair, Jr. Gwinnett County Schools Board Chairperson
Blair’s term will end on December 31, 2022.