The Gwinnett County Board of Education held a special called meeting in conjunction with its area board meeting Tuesday, March 28, at Peachtree Ridge High School.
During that special called meeting, board members considered the extension of Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts’ contract, which was set to expire in July. The board voted 4 to 1 to retain Watts as superintendent through June 30, 2025. Dr. Tarece Johnson, board chair, voted against extending the contract.
“My decision to vote to not renew Dr. Watts’ superintendent contract is rooted in principle, values and what is best for our students, teachers and staff,” Johnson said. “The majority of the board has spoken to renew Dr. Watts’ contract via their vote. We may not always agree, we may vote differently and we may not share all of the same values, but we must respect one another’s vote and persevere to ensure a successful school system. We must move forward together as a governance team to continue to support and hold the superintendent accountable.”
Steve Smith, a parent who runs a local parent group said, “Multiple board members cited stability as the reason they chose to renew Watts’ contract. Between the discipline issues and teachers and principals leaving, there is nothing stable about his leadership. For people who were so hell bent on change two years ago to now say we need stability is the height of hypocrisy and politics over what’s best for the kids.”
Watts served for six years as superintendent of Kent School District, the fifth largest school district in Washington state, before replacing J. Alvin Wilbanks as superintendent of GCPS in 2021. Prior to his tenure at Kent School District, Watts had worked as administrator for GCPS for 13 years serving in various leadership roles.
Related story: Gwinnett County Public Schools retains Cognia accreditation