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DeKalb School Board approves contract for new superintendent, salary will be $325k

DeKalb County Trending

DeKalb School Board approves contract for new superintendent, salary will be $325k

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 School Board, at a called meeting on May 17, approved a contract for new Superintendent Devon Horton, who will start on July 1.

Horton’s salary will be $325,000 and the contract is for two years with an option to renew for one year.

To read his contract, click here.

The board vote was 6-1, with Board Member Dr. Joyce Morley voting no, as she did at an April meeting where the board voted to hire Horton. At the April meeting, Morley called his hiring a “grave mistake.”

Morley attended virtually on Wednesday via her cell phone and before the vote, she spoke at length while driving in her vehicle. Her remarks were hard to hear. At one point, she said, “I guess we’ll be like Florida after a while.”

Later on, she accused her colleagues on the board of not acting in the best interest of students.

I will not stand for anything that is not honorable, anything that is not in the best interest of our children,” Morley said. 

Other school board members celebrated approving the contract with Horton.

Vice Chair Deirdre Pierce said she and other board members voted in the best interest of the district and its students.

“We endured what I like to call a great deal of unfair scrutiny” over picking Horton, Pierce said. 

Chair Diijon DaCosta called Horton a “visionary” and a “compassionate leader.”

Dr. Horton will be coming to DeKalb County School District with overwhelming support from the collective body of the school board,” DaCosta noted.

DaCosta had no updates about an ethics complaint against Morley stemming from the superintendent search process.  Morley divulged information about what was discussed in an executive session about the superintendent search to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The board’s ethics code states that board members are required to, “Maintain the confidentiality of all discussions and other matters pertaining to the Board and the School District, during executive session of the board.”

Horton is leaving his current job as superintendent of the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 in Evanston, Ill. to take the job with DeKalb County Schools. Interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley will remain on the job until June 30. Tinsley got the job when the school board abruptly fired Cheryl Watson-Harris last spring.

Dr. Horton will inherit a polarized district with declining enrollment and unimpressive test scores. The board is also being watched closely by Cognia, a nonprofit accreditation organization, because of the board’s tendency to pursue individual interests instead of working for the district as a whole. The district churns through superintendents. Since 2013, there have been six superintendents, with two of them being interim and two being terminated by the board, Cognia noted.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

Correction: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect date. This information has been corrected. 

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