Local Board meeting at Mill Creek


Ella Harper

Dr. Calvin Watts introducing himself at the board meeting held at Mill Creek.

Dr. Calvin Watts is Gwinnett County Public Schools’ new superintendent as of July 31, 2021. The former superintendent, J. Alvin Wilbanks’ contract ended 11 months before the set expiration date; Wilbanks stepped down as superintendent of Gwinnett County Schools after 25 years.

Watts has an undergraduate from Howard University and graduated with a master’s degree at the University of West Georgia. Watts went on to get his doctorate from the Atlanta Campus. Watts was an assistant principal at Bethesda Elementary School and principal of Annistown Elementary School, Bethesda Elementary School, and Trickum Middle School. Watts went on to work in human resources as Director of Staffing. He then became Assistant Superintendent and then Associate Superintendent, all before he relocated to Seattle in 2015 and became the superintendent of the Kent district.

Watts has been touring all of Gwinnett County schools, in which this tour is called the Stop, Look, and Listen Tour. The Gwinnett County School Board has also held local board meetings at various schools in Gwinnett. During these meetings, Watts spoke on numerous topics regarding the start of the new school year and Gwinnett’s most recent accomplishments, and what they hope to accomplish.

Covid-19 was among the topics discussed; Watts went over the procedures that have been or have been put in place due to pandemic. These include that masks will be required in all Gwinnett County Public Schools and enhanced ventilation systems. The promotion of receiving the Covid vaccine, as well as proper handwashing and cleaning procedures.

“Now, all of us, each and everyone of us have been touched by Covid in some form or fashion.”

Watts continues, “Gwinnett County Public Schools will remain focused on our people… because no one is immune from this pandemic.”

The School Board has also announced their new program Thought Exchange. The idea behind this is that students, teachers, and families in the community can communicate their thoughts and concerns anonymously through the app. The School Board has begun using this tool to connect with the community, allowing people to communicate directly with the district leaders. The responses will be analyzed to help the board’s decision process further.

The Gwinnett County School Board hopes to take the new Covid-19 procedures and Thought Exchange to help schools flourish during the 2021-22 school year.