DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — At a May 17 meeting, the DeKalb County School Board voted May 17 to approve a $325,000 employment contract for incoming School Superintendent Devon Horton.
Horton currently serves as superintendent for a school district in Evanston, Illinois, outside of Chicago. He will begin with DeKalb Schools July 1 with a two-year contract and an option for a third year.
The School Board selected Horton as the sole finalist for the position from 29 national applicants in early April. Some parents and residents questioned whether Horton could lead Georgia’s third-largest school district.
The school board voted 6-1 to hire Horton, with member Joyce Morley opposed. Morley said the district should keep its interim superintendent, Vasanne Tinsley in the position, because she does not feel Horton has the experience to lead DeKalb schools.
Tinsley has served as interim superintendent for roughly a year, and the board recently extended her contract to June 30.
Georgia State Schools Superintendent Richard Woods sent a letter to the DeKalb County School Board April 14 in support of keeping Tinsley in the role and pause the selection process.
Morley reiterated her opposition at the May 17 meeting, where she voted against Horton’s contract approval.
Morley said she looked forward to the day when the board “decides to be able to say that education truly matters,” and that she is disappointed in how the board made the decision.
Board member Deidre Pierce said the decision had previously been met with “unfair scrutiny,” but that she was proud to have been a part of the board during a “challenging” time.
“This is going to take us in some places we have never seen before,” Pierce said.
Board Chair Diijon DaCosta Sr. said Horton has overwhelming support from the district and is the right candidate for the moment.
“We selected an outstanding, visionary and also compassionate leader to serve the DeKalb County School District,” DaCosta said. “And then without any question Dr. Horton has a proven track record that is needed here.”
A school district official said the contract has not yet been signed but will be done “rather quickly” and made available to the public.