Karen Watkins was one of the recent candidates who won her district in the November 3, 2020 election. Watkins (D) defeated long-term incumbent Carole Boyce (R), of District 1 by 55,836 votes to 39,018 votes.
Watkins brings forth a sector of stakeholder who in over the 200+ years of the Gwinnett school that hasn’t been represented. She is both Black and Asian, being amongst the first to represent diversity on the Gwinnett County School Board.
Representation is a key area of education that Karen believes is essential to the success of students. Watkins was recently a panelist on our EdLanta Lifting Black Voices series. She spoke to the need for representation of underserved stakeholders and communities on every level of Gwinnett County Public Schools.
Another first for Gwinnett is the first, youngest, Black and openly gay Board Member Everton Blair as well as the recent election of Dr. Tarece Johnson, the first Black woman and Jewish person on the board.
One of the things both Watkins and Johnson spoke about on our townhall is the importance of family and community. Karen’s family legacy of being firsts without compromising their values continues with her recent victory.
“Education has always had life changing impacts in my family’s legacy of which is intertwined with American History.”
Watkin’s grandfather, Captain Hugh Mulzac, made history in 1942 when he became the first Black Captain to command the SS Booker T. Washington, the first integrated ship in the U.S Merchant Marine.” She wants Gwinnett students to have experiences like this in their journeys.
EdLanta Student Coalition members in Gwinnett are excited about Watkins voice on the school board. One member who is a senior in GCPS said believes in Watkins views on equity that she’s discussed during several community virtual Q&A session.
There are Gwinnett students who want to believe in and support someone who wants to see representation and equity. They have this in Karen Watkins . “Her voice is our voice”, said one EdLanta Student Coalition member.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.