The DeKalb County Board of Education has confirmed the next superintendent of the DeKalb County School District with a vote on April 19.
Board of Education (BOE) members voted 6 to 1 in favor of Devon Horton, making him the fourth superintendent in the position since 2019; Ramona Tyson was the interim superintendent from 2019 to 2020, Cheryl Watson-Harris was the superintendent from 2020 until her termination by the BOE in 2022, and most recently Vasanne Tinsley has been the interim superintendent from 2022 to present.
In a discussion before the vote, board member Joyce Morley, the lone “no” vote, said she did not feel that DCSD students and staff were “being put first” with the nomination of Horton.
“My heart bleeds today,” Morley said. “We’re bringing a candidate forward that is not qualified to be in the position. He is coming from a school population of 7,000 to a school population of approximately 93,000. We don’t respect the community and children enough if we’re willing to keep watering (the school district) down. We have made these mistakes over and over again to the detriment of students, staff and parents.”
However other board members responded with their beliefs that Horton is the right candidate for the job.
“I know the decision we’re making is in the best interest of our children,” said board member Vickie Turner. “This has been a laborious process. We know many things have been said and many of those things are salacious lies. But we know the truth and we’re going to do what is just, right and honorable.”
Multiple board members thanked Tinsley for her leadership as interim superintendent as well.
“We thank Dr. Tinsley for her hard work and we’re very grateful,” said board member Allyson Gevertz.
Gevertz and other board members also discussed “the cries from the community for stability.”
“The community has given us a directive, which is to bring stability to this district,” said Gevertz. “I want to pledge that is our intention. We need to help Dr. Horton be successful by clearing the way and giving him the support and resources needed to do it. I look forward to a very long tenure of stability in this district for years to come.”
Horton was hired by the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 school board in December 2019. He officially took over as superintendent of the Chicago-suburb school district in June 2020. The school board had extended his contract through 2026 before he was selected as DCSD’s finalist.
He also held positions including chief of schools at Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky and deputy superintendent of East St. Louis School District 189 in Illinois. He held several different positions at Chicago Public Schools.
Horton will officially take over the role as superintendent in July, according to Gevertz.
For more information, visit www.dekalbschoolga.org.