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State School Superintendent asks DeKalb School board to keep Vasanne Tinsley as superintendent

DeKalb County Trending

State School Superintendent asks DeKalb School board to keep Vasanne Tinsley as superintendent

State Schools Superintendent Richard Woods

This story has been updated. 

DeKalb County, GA — State Superintendent Richard Woods wants the DeKalb School board to keep interim superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley instead of hiring finalist Dr. Devon Horton.

Woods sent a letter to the school board on April 14. Here’s the full text of the letter:

In her brief tenure as interim superintendent, Dr. Vasanne Tinsley has been responsive and has produced results for DeKalb County Schools. She’s worked hard to form a partnership with my office and repair relationships within the DeKalb County community.

The DeKalb County School District is at a critical juncture. DeKalb students and educators deserve stability, and it is essential that the district does not lose its recent momentum.

Though the selection of a superintendent falls within your purview as the local board of education, I respectfully urge you to pause the selection process and afford Dr. Tinsley additional time to get the district on solid footing.

As one of the largest school districts in Georgia, the success of DeKalb County Schools directly impacts the success of our entire state.

Horton has faced intense scrutiny for his equity work while in his current district in Evanston, Ill 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.

Tinsley took over after the school board abruptly fired Cheryl Watson-Harris and is favored by certain members of the school board, notably Dr. Joyce Morley who made her opinions known to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She’s been openly supported by former board chair Vickie Turner as well. State Sen. Emanuel Jones also released a statement, before Horton was announced, endorsing Tinsley remaining as superintendent.

Woods is a Republican and the DeKalb County Republican Party has also released statements opposing hiring Horton.

“The DeKalb GOP and No Left Turn are calling upon ALL DeKalb Residents to make their voices heard,” an email from the DeKalb GOP says. “There is no room for racism in our schools! It’s time to teach our children about STEM – Science, Technology, Math & Science. Not hate! Tell the DeKalb County School District Board NOT to hire Dr. Devon Horton!”

The school board meets on April 17 and it’s possible the board could vote on Dr. Horton’s contract at that meeting, since that will be the 14th day after he was announced as a finalist.

To see the agenda for that meeting, click here.

Update: School Board Chair Diijon DaCosta sent the following response to Woods’ letter….

Greetings, State School Superintendent Richard Woods,

I hope this letter finds you well. Thank you for your concerns and partnership with the DeKalb County School District and Board of Education.

As the newly appointed Board Chair, I have seen our board work diligently to follow policies, processes, and protocols to achieve the best governance practices. We are committed to making informed decisions that prioritize the best interests of our scholars, teachers, staff, and community.

We also want to express our appreciation to our Interim Superintendent, Dr. Vasanne S. Tinsley, for her willingness to step in during this interim period.

We appreciate your support as we carry out our responsibilities and look forward to continuing our partnership to pursue excellence in education.

Collaboratively yours,

Diijon DaCosta, Sr., Board Chair

DeKalb County Board of Education

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