Large District Consortium Names New Leaders

October 9, 2013
Superintendents of Gwinnett and Montgomery Counties named Co-Chairs

Media Contacts
-  Sloan Roach, Gwinnett County Public Schools, 678-301-6020
-  Dana Tofig, Montgomery County Public Schools, 301-279-3853
-  Amy Starzynski, EducationCounsel LLC, 202-545-2917

J. Alvin Wilbanks, superintendent of Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Schools, and Joshua P. Starr, superintendent of Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools, have been named the co-chairs of the new Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium.

The Consortium includes the leadership of large, successful, suburban school systems that have come together to share ideas and resources, and advocate for policies and practices that support the continuous improvement of their own districts and those across the country. The Consortium, established in 2012, currently includes 15 districts that educate more than 1.3 million students. More districts may be invited to join in the coming months.

“The districts in the Consortium have different educational approaches and philosophies and face different challenges, but we have all had success in providing a high-quality education to a large number of students,” said Mr. Wilbanks, who has served as superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) since 1996, and is the longest-serving large-district superintendent in the nation. “I look forward to sharing what we have learned through our experiences and using that to inform the national conversation about how we improve education across the country.” GCPS, with nearly 169,000 students, is the 13th-largest school district in the nation. Mr. Wilbanks was the co-chair of the Consortium in 2012 with Jack Dale, the now-retired superintendent of Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools.

“The goal of the Consortium is to share our collective expertise and advocate for change that will help move education forward in our districts, our states, and across the nation,” said Dr. Starr, who has been superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) since 2011. “We don’t have an ideological agenda. Our goal is to advocate for those policies and practices that contribute to student success. We are working to make sure that every child we educate is equipped with 21st century skills.” MCPS, with more than 151,000 students, is the nation’s 17th-largest school district.

The immediate focus for the Consortium is to develop a set of strategies and concrete actions that will establish its core work and advance a clear vision around two policy priorities—21st-century outcomes and accountability.  The Consortium’s work will be focused in three key areas:

-  Establish a community of practice, collaboration, and shared values;
-  Foster success of others through sharing best practices, innovation, and supportive leadership; and
-  Draw from effective practices and strategies to inform federal policy.

As co-chairs of the Consortium, Mr. Wilbanks and Dr. Starr will lead the group’s strategic work and serve as spokesmen on a local and national level to champion for policies and practices that will improve education for all districts.

AASA, the nation’s school superintendents association, and EducationCounsel are providing administrative and organizational support to the Consortium and its members.

“At this critical time in education, I am pleased that Superintendents Wilbanks and Starr will be serving as co-chairs of the Consortium,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA. “These individuals provide strong leadership in their respective districts and I look forward to working with them in this capacity.”

The members of the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium are: Arlington Public Schools (Virginia); Baltimore County Public Schools (Maryland); Beaverton School District (Oregon); Bellevue School District (Washington); Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (North Carolina); Cobb County School District (Georgia); Fairfax County Public Schools (Virginia); Fulton County Schools (Georgia); Greenville County Schools (South Carolina); Gwinnett County Public Schools (Georgia); Mesa Public Schools (Arizona); Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland); Poway Unified School District (California); School District U-46 (Illinois); and Virginia Beach City Public Schools (Virginia).

For more information, visit the Consortium website at  

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