Last night In a 5-0 vote, the Gwinnett County School Board voted to formally announce Dr. Calvin Watts as the sole finalist for Superintendent of Georgia’s largest school district. Watts will replace Alvin Wilbanks who has spent the last 25 years at the helm. Wilbanks’s last day will be July 30, 2021- one year before his contract was due to end.
Currently, Dr. Watts serves as superintendent of Kent School District (KSD), the 5th largest and 2nd most diverse school district in Washington State. With more than 26,500 students, KSD also employs 3,600 staff members and operates a $450 million budget.
Watts is a former administrator in Gwinnett County Schools who spent thirteen years in the district. After the 5-0 vote to confirm him, Watts joined the call virtually and expressed how thrilled he was to reestablish residency in Georgia and become once again rooted in the Gwinnett County community.
The decision regarding the finalist came after a nationwide search conducted by the Georgia Schools Boards Association (GSBA) that yielded 27 qualified applicants for consideration. As part of the search process, GSBA conducted a community survey in multiple languages in which more than 24,000 individuals provided input regarding the strengths and qualifications they hoped to see in the district’s next superintendent. “We received 27 completed applications from extremely qualified candidates from around the country, including several highly qualified internal candidates. We used the feedback provided from parents, employees, students, and stakeholders to help guide us as we interviewed candidates.
“Through this process, we have had the opportunity to learn about the applicants, their experiences, and their interest in leading Gwinnett County Public Schools. I am confident that with our selection we have identified the right person to lead our school district.
“Our goal was to select the superintendent who would be able to lead Gwinnett County Public Schools during this critical time, building on our legacy of success and working with our outstanding staff to serve our students in our quest to become a system of world-class schools. We feel we’ve done that with this outstanding finalist.”
Everton Blair, Jr. Board Chairman
In compliance with Georgia law, the School Board must wait for a minimum of 14 days between announcing finalist(s) for the position of superintendent and making the appointment official. Once Board members make their selection from among the finalists, negotiations will begin regarding the reporting date and salary. The Board is expected to vote to appoint the school district’s next leader at a meeting on Thursday, July 29, during a Special Called Board Meeting.