Dr. Watts' Greetings
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Hello, I am Dr. Calvin Watts, and I am truly humbled and honored to have been selected as the next superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). In the brief time since I was named as the sole finalist, I have heard from many of you and I thank you for your warm welcome back to Gwinnett.
You see, six years ago, I left Gwinnett to serve as superintendent of Kent School District in Washington State. It was a coming home of sorts as the Pacific Northwest was my first home. I grew up in a suburb of Seattle and also graduated from high school in Washington. As I reflect upon my leadership journey, I’ve always thought of the Pacific Northwest as the place where I grew up “personally.” However, I relocated to the Southeast in the early stages of my professional career in education, and since then, I have always referred to Gwinnett County Public Schools as the place where I grew up “professionally.”
I remain grateful for the opportunities J. Alvin Wilbanks and other leaders provided me while I was in Gwinnett… opportunities that let me grow, learn, achieve, and lead. I considered my tenure in GCPS as one of the highlights of my career in education. In Gwinnett, I learned from many incredible leaders and leadership experiences. In GCPS, I served as an Assistant Principal at Bethesda Elementary, as a Principal at Annistown Elementary and Trickum Middle schools, as a Director of Human Resources, and also as an Assistant Superintendent in support of school and principal leadership until I left to become Superintendent of Kent School District.
In Kent, I was able to apply the lessons that I learned throughout my 13-year career in GCPS to many leadership opportunities, including how to lead with diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in mind. During my six-year tenure in Kent, we pursued academic excellence and overcame organizational challenges together as we made decisions that centered around the direct needs of our students. Equally important, we conducted district business with integrity and transparency, never wavering even during the pandemic, the most extraordinary year-and-a-half of our educational careers.
It is no secret that Gwinnett County Public Schools has a long history of success. I am eager to reconnect with, and rejoin this district, working with the Board of Education, our administrators, teachers, students, families, and community to lead GCPS in its next chapter.
My leadership philosophy always has been to reach and teach all students as if they had my last name. Because of this philosophy, my wife and I will now have nearly 180,000 children. We can’t wait, as we will soon become empty nesters when our son heads off to college in a few short weeks!
Again, I am humbled and honored to engage and serve you as your next superintendent. In the coming days and weeks, we will provide several opportunities throughout the county and in our schools to give me the chance to meet and learn from as many of you as possible. I look forward to becoming reacquainted with Gwinnett County Public Schools, reconnecting with former colleagues, and meeting and getting to know many of you. Together, we will work to ensure our schools remain great places for our children and this great community.
It’s good to be home!
Dr. Calvin J. Watts,
Newly Appointed Superintendent for Gwinnett County Public Schools