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DeKalb School Board hires next superintendent

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DeKalb School Board hires next superintendent

Dr. Devon Horton, the sole finalist for DeKalb County School District Superintendent, speaks during a town hall at the DeKalb County School District administrative and instructional complex in Stone Mountain on Friday, April 14, 2023. This was the third of three town halls hosted by the school board to introduce Dr. Horton. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb County School Board voted to hire superintendent finalist Dr. Devon Horton during a specially called meeting on Wednesday, April 19. The board is still negotiating Horton’s contract.

The vote was 6-1. Board Members Deirdre Pierce, Anna Hill, Allyson Gevertz, Whitney McGinnis, Vickie Turner and Chairperson Diijon DaCosta voted for hiring Horton. Board Member Dr. Joyce Morley voted no, giving a lengthy speech in which she quoted the Bible, saying Horton was “not qualified.”

“I think you all are making a grave mistake,” Morley said.

Once his contract is approved, Horton will start after June 30. Decaturish will publish contract details as soon as they are available.

Horton said he was “overwhelmed and excited” for the opportunity after the vote.

“I don’t take it for granted,” he said.

His hiring was not assured, and there was a public campaign for the school board to vote against approving his contract and keep Interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley. Notable opponents to hiring Horton included Dr. Morley, who blasted Horton in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and state School Superintendent Richard Woods, who asked the board to pause the process.

Horton has faced intense scrutiny for his equity work while in his current district in Evanston, Illinois and has other baggage he brings to the job — like questions about a contract that went to former business partners — which he has been answering questions about in his town hall meetings with the public. To read our write-up of the first town hall, click here. To read more about his work in Evanston, click here.

Horton will face adversity running DeKalb County Schools, which has become notorious for churning through superintendents. Since 2013, there have been six superintendents. Two were interims, and the board fired two others.

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