Gwinnett County Commissioner Marlene Fosque and school board member Everton Blair will be leaving their offices this weekend, marking the end of their historic tenure. On January 1, 2019, they made history by becoming the first African-Americans to serve on their respective boards in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
Marlene Fosque served on the County Commission and was hailed for her work on Project RESET and Project RESET 2.0, programs that she championed to help families with financial assistance to stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. At her last commission business meeting on December 13, she reflected on her time in office with a quote from Nelson Mandela:
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we led.”
Fosque’s fellow commissioners presented flowers and a proclamation to her at the December zoning public hearing, which was her last official meeting as a member of the Board of Commissioners on December 13, 2022.
Everton Blair served on the school board and was recognized for bringing “innovation, the innovative ideas” and “valuable leadership input” to the board and for his commitment to the school system during his tenure as chairman in 2021. However, Blair’s tenure on the school board was not without challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut schools down in the spring of 2020 and moved to a hybrid in-person and digital model during the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, the contract of longtime former GCPS Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks was terminated in 2021, nearly a year earlier than it was scheduled to end, and GCPS’ new discipline policy, which has been the subject of pushback from teachers and parents, was implemented earlier this year.
Despite the challenges, both Fosque and Blair were celebrated by their respective colleagues for the historic firsts that their elections represented and for the work they accomplished during their terms. On Saturday, their terms of office will officially come to an end.