County board of education approves new superintendent’s contract

The DeKalb County School District Board of Education has approved the contract for a new superintendent.

The 6-1 vote came at a May 17 meeting after board members made their final comments before casting their votes.

As was the case at the April 19 board meeting to confirm Dr. Devon Horton as the next superintendent of DeKalb County School District (DCSD), Dr. Joyce Morley was the sole “no” vote at the May 17 meeting.

“I’m disappointed in the things we’ve done, how we continue to do things and this board,” said Morley, who was the only board member not physically present for the meeting, by phone. “I do not agree with this contract. DeKalb County is the county where (superintendents) can earn $100,000 to $200,000 more than they were earning before. At some point, and I will probably not be on the board when this happens, this board will vote based on what you know is right and not what gives you the most control.”

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Horton’s base salary was set at $325,000, which matches the compensation for interim superintendent Vasanne Tinsley and former superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris.

Despite Morley’s comments, other board members called the process of selecting the next superintendent “fair, robust and methodical.”

“I want to thank our colleagues because we went through quite a bit during this process,” said board member Deirdre Pierce. “We endured a great deal of what I call unfair scrutiny, but we stayed the course and were very methodical.”

Horton will begin his work with DCSD on July 1. His contract extends through June 30, 2025, with an option to renew for another year, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Horton will become the fourth DCSD superintendent since 2019; Ramona Tyson was the interim superintendent from 2019 to 2020, Watson-Harris was the superintendent from 2020 until she was terminated by the board of education in 2022; Tinsley has been the interim superintendent from 2022 to present.

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