DeKalb County Schools hires Cheryl Watson-Harris as superintendent
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Stone Mountain, GA — DeKalb County Schools has hired a new superintendent.
The School Board voted 6-1 to hire Cheryl Watson-Harris, awarding her an annual base salary of $325,000.
She will take over as superintendent on July 1.
She currently works as the First Deputy Chancellor for the New York City Department of Education.
“The community’s passion for student success was palpable in each meeting I had, and I want to thank everyone who engaged with me. I intend to meet as many of you in person as soon as conditions permit,” Watson-Harris said in a press release. “It is encouraging to see an abundance of support for the important work ahead, and I am excited to get started.”
The hiring of Watson-Harris came after the School Board offered the job to Rudy Crew only to publicly decline approving his contract. Crew served as chancellor of New York City Schools and the superintendent in Miami-Dade County. He currently serves as President of Medgar Evers College in New York.
Here is the full announcement about the School Board’s decision to hire Watson-Harris:
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — The DeKalb County Board of Education today officially announced its selection of Cheryl Watson-Harris as the next superintendent of DeKalb County School District (DCSD).
The board voted 6 – 1 to appoint Watson-Harris, the District’s sole finalist, as the next superintendent and execute a three-year employment contract with an annual base salary of $325,000. She will assume the role on July 1.
“We are excited and proud to officially welcome Mrs. Watson-Harris to DeKalb County School District as our next superintendent,” said Board Chair Marshall Orson. “Her experience as both an innovator at the New York City Department of Education and a passionate champion for children is precisely what we need to continue positioning our students for success.”
Watson-Harris was named the sole finalist in the board’s search for a new superintendent on June 4. During the last 14 days, a waiting period required by Georgia law after announcing a superintendent finalist, Watson-Harris participated in virtual meetings with employees, community members, public officials and the media. During these interactions, she discussed her experience, work style and vision for the District while learning more about the community’s expectations and priorities for DCSD.
“The community’s passion for student success was palpable in each meeting I had, and I want to thank everyone who engaged with me. I intend to meet as many of you in person as soon as conditions permit,” Watson-Harris said. “It is encouraging to see an abundance of support for the important work ahead, and I am excited to get started.”
An accomplished leader in education, Watson-Harris brings a wealth of experience from her roles in New York and Boston. She currently serves as First Deputy Chancellor, Senior Director of Field Support and Brooklyn Executive Director for the New York City Department of Education. Previously she served as Network Superintendent and principal for Boston Public Schools (BPS). She is the youngest person ever named to a principal position in BPS.
Watson-Harris has an undergraduate degree from Marymount College and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. She is currently a doctoral candidate at New York University’s Steinhardt School with an anticipated completion date of 2021 for a degree in educational leadership and innovation.
Watson-Harris will succeed Ramona Tyson, who has served as interim superintendent and superintendent since November 2019. Tyson has led the school district through the COVID-19 pandemic, reprioritized the organization’s fiscal responsibilities and instituted changes to relieve overcrowded schools. After three decades of extraordinary service to DCSD, she will retire on June 30.
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