After outrage from parents, Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent Calvin Watts quit his position on the Board of Directors of Cognia. Cognia, the school’s system accrediting agency. Cognia is an Alpharetta-based nonprofit organization, and most of Georgia’s public school systems are accredited by Cognia. Each year, school districts pay tens of thousands of dollars to voluntarily adhere to guidelines set forth by Cognia.

Watts announced his resignation in a statement on the school district’s website after joining the board in July. 

While I am not the first Gwinnett County Public Schools leader to be selected to serve on the Cognia Board of Directors, I am certainly grateful to have been selected to serve in that same capacity in May 2022. Cognia is the accrediting organization for 36,000 education institutions worldwide, including Gwinnett County Public Schools. After deep reflection, conversations with my family, and prayerful consideration, I have made the decision to step down from the Cognia Board position I accepted in May. I make this decision solely because of the distraction this particular professional opportunity has caused in our district. Over the last 30 years, while serving students and families across our country in public education, I have often returned to this quote from Dr. Angela Y. Davis “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” The students, families, and staff of our district have been and continue to be my focus in every decision I make as Superintendent; I have and will continue to make decisions that move our district forward.

Entering my second year as Superintendent in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), I remain humbled and honored to serve.  I continue to reflect upon the accomplishments we’ve achieved together, as well as the relationships, and partnerships we’ve established. Our team of leaders is beginning to realize just how much work we have in front of us to ensure that 181,000+ students are able to read, write, problem solve, adapt, and remain self-aware as a result of their attending GCPS. While we have accomplished a great deal in just thirteen months, we remain committed to continuously improving upon our past successes and our current triumphs. In fact, we have much to celebrate—from the classroom to the boardroom. And while we recognize there is more transformational work that lies ahead of us in GCPS, we will learn, grow, and improve together.

As a servant leader committed to public education, I will continue to serve our district with empathy, leading for equity, to improve our effectiveness, and to support student excellence. I look forward to continuing to partner with the hundreds of organizations, companies, and leaders in our district, state, and nation to serve our students, families, and staff. I want to thank Cognia, their board and leadership team, for extending me the opportunity to serve and the grace and professionalism they have shown me as we remain united in our commitment to public education.

In partnership and service,

Dr. Calvin J. Watts


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