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Gwinnett School Superintendent Says Goodbye After 25 Years


On March 18, 2021, the Gwinnett County Board of Education voted on the future employment of current CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. The vote was a three to two decision to transition the leadership to a new superintendent. Georgia’s largest school district is currently in preparation and will conduct a four month search to find a new superintendent for the 2021-22 school year. Wilbanks’ career as superintendent in Gwinnett will end July 31, 2021. 

In an article from Gwinnett County Public Schools, Chairman Everton Blair Jr., said, “After numerous conversations between Mr. Wilbanks and the Board, we have chosen to take this action at this time in order to begin a superintendent search. As this is a pivotal period in our district’s history, we want to ensure we have the time needed to find a candidate of the highest caliber who is ready to build on the many things established during Mr. Wilbanks’ tenure.”

Wilbanks has served as the CEO/Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools since March of 1996, making him the superintendent for 25 years. Education has been his life’s work for a total of 56 years. Since his first day he has been passionate about his work and the school system. With his leadership, Gwinnett has been able to move toward their vision as a “world-class” school system. 

In regard to the School Board’s decision, in an article from Gwinnett County Public Schools, Wilbanks said, “In light of the addition of new members to the Board and my decision not to seek another contract, this vote is not surprising. While I was prepared to fulfill my contract through June of 2022, recent discussions with the School Board made it clear that would not be the case.”

The Board is confident they will find the most highly qualified superintendent for the county. Teachers, students and parents all have questions and concerns about who will be the new superintendent and how it may affect the county in more ways than education. 

Samantha Herbertson, a Gwinnett County Schools parent, employee and resident, said, “There has been talk around the community of people fearing the housing market is going to drop in Gwinnett.”

She said residents are scared their houses are going to lose value once Wilbanks leaves the county. He has been a part of the community for so long that now some people are fearing the change. 

“I would not be surprised if I started to see for sale signs going up in my neighborhood.” – Samantha Herbertson

While some residents are scared of the change, others hope it will bring peace to the county. 

Debra Cronnelly, a Gwinnett County Schools parent, employee and resident, said, “Gwinnett County Schools is such a large county with many areas that have different needs. These different areas within the county have created a divide. My hope is a new superintendent can help bring the county together and fit the needs of all the many different schools within the county.”

Caleb Farr, a Mountain View High School student and Gwinnett county resident, said, “I have only ever known the county being under Mr. Wilbanks leadership, so it will be weird to see someone else take over.”

Farr said he is sure the Board can find someone to Wilbanks’ caliber, but is unsure if this can be done in a four month span. 

The Board is confident that the opening of Wilbanks’ position will bring highly qualified candidates from all over the country.

While the search is underway, the Board said they are looking forward to working with Wilbanks to lead a smooth transition into new leadership. In the upcoming months the Board plans to celebrate him, his legacy and to thank him for his service to Gwinnett County Public Schools.

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Gwinnett School Superintendent Says Goodbye After 25 Years