Reem Addous, Senior at Central Gwinnett High School, Georgia
A superintendent should be a person who makes daily decisions about educational programs in the most appropriate manner, unlike J. Alvin Wilbanks, who has made some poor choices concerning reopening schools during the pandemic. I believe that the new superintendent should be someone who possesses high moral standards and integrity.
Someone who will truly empathize and listen to not only students, but teachers in order to provide them with the tools they need to be successful. Having said that, the new superintendent also needs to be open to being held accountable. He/she needs to create a safe space where teachers and students can hold them accountable without fear of repercussions.
Hannah Ibrahim, 5th Grader at Gwin Oaks Elementary
As a student I feel that we have a clearer perspective of what students need than the adults that continuously drown out our voices. We know what we need because we experience school on the daily, they don’t.
If we could choose our own superintendent, we would choose one who understands the way we think and who is empathetic to our struggles. We would choose a superintendent who not only cares about students, or teachers, but someone who cares about janitors and everyone else who helps GCPS maintain a world class system everyday. We want some who truly cares about creating better futures for all students, not just some.
Though it is rare for district superintendents or any other board member to be elected by students, the significance of knowing that you had picked your superintendent would really leave a mark, a good one, on the students as well as, Gwinnett County Public Schools. Letting students have a say in the new superintendent would prove that GCPS truly cares about students like they always say they do.
Student participation in choosing the superintendent would make teachers jobs easier, thus facilitating better educational outcomes for students. According to jaxpef.org, A 1990 analysis showed that 97.8 of the nation’s school districts have superintendents appointed by the local school board. Although it is important for the school board’s to make a decision on who they pick, we as not only students, but community members should have an input on the superintendent too.
A characteristic that the superintendent needs to have is that she\he would have to get involved within the Gwinnett Community that they serve. And not just in the upper-class neighborhoods, but also in the neighborhoods where you wouldn’t want to get caught in at night and everywhere else in between. I feel that getting to know the community is a big part of being an effective leader. We need a superintendent that leads with equity and compassion.
This article is a part of the EdLanta Student Coalition series on lifting student voices and empowering student leadership.
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.