DR. Calvin Watts Interview


Courtesy of Lifetouch

Dr. Calvin Watts, Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent.

Gwinnett County School District Superintendent, Dr. Calvin Watts, started his career in Seattle public school, teaching grades 6-8.

When asked what inspired him to become an educator, he replied, “Most importantly, I was able to develop skills and talents to help younger people become skilled and enjoy what they found to be their passion and their strength as a learner… I don’t know that it will ever be over, the goal is up every day and I look at this work every day because I want to be the very best version of myself.”

Educational equity is an equal opportunity in education for students. One example of educational equity is accommodating students’ learning, which was one of the topics addressed by Watts, “I think about how we can address the needs of our most vulnerable students and our staff who are supporting them and teaching them.”

Resources are provided to every classroom, whether it be money, teachers, or time, “Unfortunately, school districts do not have an endless supply of resources. School districts do not have an endless supply of money and the supply of people, we don’t have an endless supply of time… Those are questions that as I open today, that can keep me up at night, but also wakes me up in the morning to try and solve them and help our teachers, leaders, and students to be even more successful.”

One way to provide educational equity to students is having more teachers on staff. This leads to the question of how Gwinnett County Public Schools is motivating high school students to become future educators.

“One of the areas that I think we can do an even more effective job is making sure that we not just connect with our high school students, but also our middle school students.”

Middle grades are harder for kids dealing with physical and emotional changes, “Middle grades can be a harder time to adjust, but we have to make sure we’re reaching all of our students, and I think Middle School is a great place to start.”

Along with the need for teachers, the problem of special education teachers and self-contained teachers not having enough time to plan their lessons also arises. GCPS utilizes its resources to obtain educational equity, but time seems to be the unutilized resource of all. A common question among teachers is if they would receive any compensation for work done outside of work hours.

“They belong to Team GCPS and I just know that there’s not a simple answer to that. But we’re also looking at ways we can make sure that all of our teachers feel value by feeling that they belong and feel that we know as they should that they are important to this work.”

During the interview, Watts discussed how dedicated he was to being Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent. “I will always consider myself a teacher, and it just was a profession that I truly enjoy.”