Outgoing, incoming Gwinnett school board members honored

The Gwinnett County Board of Education bid farewell to two long-term members before swearing in their replacements Thursday.

Both Dan Seckinger, District 2, and Robert McClure, District 4, served for 24 years. They were elected in the same year and decided at nearly the same moment it was time to pass the baton.

“I’d been thinking about this time for two years,” said Seckinger. “I think 24 is a good number.”

McClure said: “I came into office in 1994. It was the first time I ever ran for anything.”

Both men mentioned similar reasons for seeking office — making sure a good school district stayed on the path to being a great school district.

And those are much the same reasons Everton Blair and Steve Knudsen have signed on for the jobs.

“Dan and Bob are leaving a huge legacy — big shoes to fill,” said Knudsen. “I’m humbled and hopeful that I’m up to the task.”

Being the youngest school board member and the first of color, Blair said he has a rainbow constituency looking for him to bring about change in a smart, respectful way.

“I’m excited about everything to come,” said Blair. “My work as an educator and my experience at (The Broad Center) and as a student in the system allows me to come back to the local school district and ask a lot of questions that I’m now in a position to be sure to get the answers.”

Community members, teachers, administrators and students came to honor the two men who spent more than two decades helping shape the largest education system in the state.

“I was kind of cocky to start out,” said Seckinger, “but in hindsight I realized that working in government is making sure the right people were in place.”

Knudsen, who was endorsed by Seckinger, was of a like mind.

” First of all, I just want to keep doing what Gwinnett County’s been doing. They’ve been educating in an excellent way, and we need to keep that going,” he said.

“For a long time I’ve been so thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been able to get from Gwinnett County Public Schools,” said Blair. “I experienced a lot of the diversity that the school district underwent as a student, and to turn out to be a part of that diversity as a board member is really an honor. And I’m excited to serve all of our students.”

Blair and Seckinger will join the rest of the school board for the first time at the Jan. 17 meeting.