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On a recent flight to Atlanta I was stuck in a middle seat, which I initially viewed with dismay but soon grew to appreciate.

The person on my left saw that I was reading Fifteen Thousand Hours, prompting her to reveal herself as a recently retired educator who had been a high school teacher for many years before working at the state level in Georgia. She and I got to talking about education, at which point the young woman on my right introduced herself as an elementary school teacher in Florida.

Needless to say, the three of us had a grand time talking about schools and education — the young teacher is working on “flipping” her classroom — a buzzword that I have been pretty skeptical of but which she made seem perfectly sensible. The long-time educator had been working on bringing up-to-date technology to Georgia classrooms, so she loved hearing about current teachers’ work.

Toward the end of our flight, the young teacher said that she and her husband had been talking about a job opportunity he had in Atlanta, but she was unsure of where she should work if they moved.

“Gwinnett County,” was the advice of the experienced Georgia hand. “That is a great district.”

I thought of that conversation when Gwinnett was announced as a second-time Broad Prize winner last week. (It’s sharing the prize with Orange County, Fla.)

It seems to me significant that a district that survived the many data screenings done by the Broad Foundation is also a district that an experienced Georgia educator would recommend to a young colleague as a great place to work.

In the Huffington Post this week, I speculate about why that might be.

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