The Gwinnett County Board of Education has been criticized and lauded for being like-minded about most issues. For the first time in recent history, however, a seemingly routine procedure produced a little static.
During the election of two new board officers for 2020 at its monthly business meeting on Thursday night, relative newcomer Everton Blair, District IV nominated himself for vice chair.
Nobody seconded his nomination and Steve Knudsen, District III, immediately nominated Carol Boyce, District I. It was seconded by District II representative Mary K. Murphy, the Board of Education chairwoman for 2019. Boyce was appointed by a 4-1 vote, with Blair dissenting.
Related story: One year in, Gwinnett BOE ‘rookies’ reflect on school system
Related story: Blair, Knudsen win Gwinnett BOE seats
District V representative Louise Radloff will serve as the board chairman in 2020 and District I representative Carole Boyce will serve as vice chairman.
When asked why he nominated Boyce instead of backing Blair, Knudsen seemed surprised at the question.
“For me it was obvious that experience should win out,” he said. “It’s an incredibly complex and difficult job and it needs someone who’s been there before.”
Although Blair is the youngest member in the board’s history, he also comes with a wealth of knowledge about education systems.
He a product of the Gwinnett County Public Schools system having graduated from Shiloh High School. He received his bachelors degree at Harvard and and masters degree at Stanford. He’s a former AP Calculus and Geometry teacher at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School in Atlanta Public Schools and served in the Obama administration as a Policy and Advocacy Fellow at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Has worked with superintendents in education policy at the district, state and national level through the Broad Center, an organization which supports leaders in urban public education as they work to expand opportunity for the students and families they serve. He still works in education outside his board duties developing national cohort programs for teacher leaders and academic officers around instruction.
He declined to comment about the board officers vote.
Radloff, who served as the vice chairman in 2019, has been a member of the Gwinnett County Board of Education since 1973.
Gwinnett BOE officers
2019: Chair - Mary K. Murphy; Vice Chair - Louise Radloff
2018: Chair - Carol Boyce; Vice Chair - Dan Seckinger
2017: Chair - Louise Radloff; Vice Chair - Carol Boyce
2016: Chair - Robert McClure; Vice Chair - Louise Radloff
2015: Chair - Mary K. Murphy; Vice Chair - Robert McClure
2014: Chair - Dan Seckinger; Vice Chair - Mary K. Murphy
2013: Chair - Carol Boyce; Vice Chair - Dan Seckinger
2012: Chair - Louise Radloff; Vice Chair - Carol Boyce
2011: Chair - Robert McClure; Vice Chair - Louise Radloff
2010: Chair - Mary K. Murphy; Vice Chair - Robert McClure
2009: Chair - Dan Seckinger; Vice Chair - Mary K. Murphy
2008: Chair - Carol Boyce; Vice Chair - Dan Seckinger
2007: Chair - Louise Radloff; Vice Chair - Carol Boyce
Source: Gwinnett County Board of Education approved board meeting minutes
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