After becoming the youngest, first Black and first gay school board member in Gwinnett County, Everton Blair topped it to become chair. On Friday, he filed paperwork to run for an even bigger post, state schools superintendent.
To lead the Georgia Dept. of Education, Blair has to first beat Cobb County school board member Jaha Howard in the Democratic primary. He would then take on the winner of the Republican race: Former state school superintendent John Barge faces the office’s incumbent, Richard Woods.
Blair announced in November that he would not seek re-election to Gwinnett’s school board. After making history as the board’s first Black, openly gay and youngest-ever member in 2018 – and collecting honors for the achievement – board members elected him chair in 2021 after a contentious ousting of old guard members.
He led a $2 billion budget in the rapidly growing and diversifying county, home to 180,000 public school students. His tenure included pandemic headaches like infuriated parents over mask issues, as well as the cancellation of a longtime superintendent’s contract.
We reached out to Blair for comment, and we will update this post when he responds.
UPDATE | On Jan. 18, Blair officially launched his campaign and provided this statement:
“The education I got here in Georgia opened so many doors for me. I’m running to be Georgia’s next School Superintendent so that every student in our state has the same opportunity to succeed.
“Our future hinges on getting our students ready for tomorrow. I’ll bring visionary, forward-thinking leadership to the challenges our students and teachers are facing right now, and make every decision with their best interest in mind.”