Wilbanks is a strong leader

I have watched the recent controversy regarding Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks unfold and have marveled at his detractors' vitriol. Mr. Wilbanks is a longtime supporter and architect of quality Gwinnett education, not someone who would unveil racist tendencies after years of service.

This is a man that cares about the students in his county and has been proactive in improving their education, no matter the child's race.

I urge the citizens of Gwinnett to remember that Superintendent Wilbanks is a compassionate man and his skill at improving test scores and graduation rates for all students speaks for itself. He has served this community since 1996 and has become the longest-serving superintendent of a large system in the nation. I find it inconceivable that he is a racist, covert or otherwise.

I believe the superintendent's comment on the matter. He was simply asking about Idaho's black population in schools, and whether that state could serve as a good comparison. A good administrator will often ask questions to improve policies.

What sadly has been lost in the rhetoric against the superintendent is that our school district has not only acknowledged an issue, but has made progress in addressing that issue. It is a fact that, as a result of Mr. Wilbanks' leadership on this issue, the number of panels for minority (black and Hispanic) students in Gwinnett County Public Schools has decreased by 10.2 percent.

I ask the good people of Gwinnett to consider Mr. Wilbanks and his long history of adding to the betterment of schools and the education of their children before heeding the recent attempts to slander his good name and reputation.

Rep. Melvin Everson represents Ga. House District 106 which includes Snellville and portions of Lilburn, Grayson, Lawrenceville and Loganville. He serves on the House Education Committee.