Interim DCSD superintendent receives pay boost in final days with district

As DeKalb County School District interim superintendent Ramona Tyson nears her final days toward retirement, the board of education surprised Tyson with a pay increase and change in title April 15. 

Tyson has served as interim superintendent since Nov. 2019. The DeKalb BOE voted unanimously April 15 to remove “interim” from Tyson’s title “so the history books accurately reflect the credible work she has done for the community and children of DeKalb County,” said board chair Marshall Orson.

The board also approved an increase to Tyson’s bi-monthly salary, which was an estimated $11,875 prior to April 15. The updated contract increases Tyson’s bi-monthly salary to $14,583.33.

“She did not ask for this. We need to do this because the job she has been tasked with is far beyond—as you can imagine—anyone would’ve wanted to walk into if they knew they were going to,” said Olson.

DCSD has had at least seven full-time or interim superintendents in the last 20 years. Tyson, a 32-year employee of the district, also held the interim superintendent position from February 2010 until 2011. She was appointed by the board again to act as interim in November 2019 after the board suddenly ended its contract with Stephen Green.

An emotional Tyson said at the April 15 virtual meeting that when she became interim superintendent 10 years ago, she thought that was the hardest time for the district. But now, carrying the district through COVID-19 pandemic has presented more of a challenge. 

“Ten years later, in November, when you asked me to step in to be interim, I had no idea I would be moving into a pandemic within [90 days],” said Tyson to the board. “This is the hardest lift in my almost 33-year career. It is constant. It is 24/7. But it is worth it when I think about the 100,000 children and their families.”

On March 16, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered that schools remain closed through March 30, and has extended the closure for the remainder of the school year due to the increasing spread of COVID-19 throughout the state. Tyson and her team have overseen the move to online, digital learning for students and have put plans in place to continue to feed students while schools remain closed. 

The district announced plans April 14 to end the school year early and are planning to announce plans to host graduations, which have been postponed until June 22-27.

“I commit to you that we will finish strong and we will end this school year in the best interest of the children and we will give it everything we’ve got to position them to be in the best possible position for the next school year and for those who go off to work, post-secondary or the military.”

The district plans to choose a permanent superintendent in the coming months as Tyson’s contract ends June 30. 

“I have about 75 days left in my contract. I can’t think of a better gift that you could’ve given me by gracing me with that official title as I get ready to retire,” said Tyson.

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