Candidate forums set for Gwinnett County school board race

Two of five districts have elections in May

Credit: Casey Sykes

Credit: Casey Sykes

Gwinnett County school board candidates will appeal to voters and discuss their ideas for education at three upcoming forums that will be broadcast online.

One forum is tonight and two other forums are scheduled for later this month.

The election is May 24. Only voters in Districts 2 and 4 will be voting for school board in May. District 2 features an incumbent facing one challenger, while District 4 has five new candidates vying for the seat.

The election was originally scheduled for Nov. 8. It was moved up because Gov. Brian Kemp signed Republican-backed legislation that made the elections nonpartisan.

That means ballots won’t signify candidates’ political parties. Candidates are working to appeal to all voters rather than voters from a specific party. The winners of the May elections will not take office until the current terms end in December.

The candidates

In District 2, Board of Education Vice Chair Steve Knudsen is facing Michael Rudnick. Rudnick has spoken frequently at school board meetings against mandating masks.

Knudsen was first elected in 2018. He touts the board’s work to maintain quality education and financial stability during the pandemic as well as continuity during last year’s transition to a new superintendent. Rudnick often discusses the importance of programs for special needs students and asks the board to keep those students in mind.

In District 4, Everton Blair is not running for reelection. He launched a campaign for state schools superintendent but has since suspended it. The open seat has led to a field of five candidates joining the race.

The candidates are Gwinnett juvenile court attorney Kelly Kautz, former Berkmar High School teacher Tony Sellers, Georgia Department of Education assessment specialist Adrienne Simmons, policy analyst Matt Sones and attorney Alexis Williams.

School board candidate forums

- 7 p.m. April 12, Facebook page, Gwinnett STOPP

- 3 p.m. April 20, the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce forum. Register in advance to receive the link to watch.

- 7 p.m. April 28, Facebook page, League of Women Voters of Gwinnett County