The Gwinnett County school district is the state’s largest school system. It is also one of the most diverse — 76 percent of Gwinnett’s 176,000 students are people of color. However, voters had never elected a person of color to the school board until Tuesday.
Everton Blair, a 26-year-old African-American who works in the nonprofit sector, won an open seat in District 4. Blair graduated from Gwinnett’s Shiloh High School, which is also in District 4. He went to Harvard, and after graduation he taught in Atlanta for two years through a program called Teach for America. That’s the experience he says he’ll bring with him to the board.
“There are so many instructionally-relevant experiences that I feel I can translate to where we need to go, what our students need now, and how we’re going to get them there,” Blair said at an October campaign event.
While he recognized the history-making impact of becoming Gwinnett’s first non-white school board member, Blair said his age also sets him apart.
“Our school board is very seasoned,” he said. “So, because of that age gap, there’s a lot of younger folks who have not yet had the opportunity to put their energy and support behind a peer of theirs.”
Three of the board’s five current members have served since the 1990s. Blair said his presence would bring some balance to the board.
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