Apr 20, 2023 - News

DeKalb school board hires Horton as superintendent

Dr. Devon Horton

Dr. Devon Horton has been hired as superintendent for the DeKalb County School District. Photo: DeKalb County schools

​​DeKalb County will soon have a new superintendent to take charge of the 92,000-student school district.

Driving the news: Board of Education members Wednesday voted 6-1 to hire Dr. Devon Horton to serve as the system’s third leader since 2020 — and the eighth since 2010.

  • Horton, superintendent of Evanston/Skokie School District 65 in Illinois, was named the sole finalist on April 4 by the school board. He is expected to start the DeKalb job in July.
  • Board member Dr. Joyce Morley was the lone vote in opposition.

Between the lines: Horton was hired despite opposition by some residents who felt he doesn't have the experience to lead Georgia’s third-largest school district and because of a pending lawsuit over his anti-racist initiatives, as previously reported by Decaturish.

  • Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods on Friday also wrote to board members, asking them to keep interim superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley.

Catch up quick: DeKalb board members last April voted to fire former superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris, who was hired in 2020. Tinsley was named the interim and has been serving in that capacity for roughly a year.

  • The board on Monday voted to extend Tinsley’s contract through June 30.

What they’re saying: Morley, who attended the meeting virtually, said the board was hiring a person who is "not only not qualified to be in the position,” but comes from a district that has no high schools and around 7,000 students.

"We always think that the grass is greener on the other side … and what we found out is that when we look for that green grass, it's artificial turf," she said. "It's not even real."

The other side: Board member Vickie Turner said "the decision that we are making is in the best interest of our children."

  • Board members Anna Hill and Allyson Gevertz both thanked Dr. Tinsley for her service as interim superintendent.
  • Gevertz also said the community is calling on the board to "bring stability to the district."
  • "We need to help Dr. Horton be successful by clearing the way for him and by giving him the resources, the bandwidth, [and] the support to do what he's going to do," she said.

What's next: DeKalb schools spokesperson Donald Porter told Axios that the board will now negotiate the terms of Horton's contract.


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