State Superintendent urges DeKalb Co. to pause search for next superintendent
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A Georgia State Official is asking DeKalb County School leaders to pause their search for new a new superintendent.
Our news partners at Decaturish tell us State Superintendent Richard Woods wants the DeKalb School Board to keep interim Superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley, instead of hiring finalist Dr. Devon Horton.
This comes on the same night the district held its final town hall for community members to get to know Dr. Horton.
The District’s Board of Education is aware of the request made by the state.
DeKalb Co. Board of Education Chair, Diijon DaCosta Sr. said this in response to the Woods request.
It says in part...” as the newly appointed Board Chair, I have seen our board word work diligently to follow policies, processes, and protocols to achieve the best governance practices,” said DaCosta said. “We are committed to making informed decisions, that prioritize the best interest of our scholars, teachers, staff and community,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the town hall, parents went face to face with Dr. Horton. Many wanted to know whether he is right for the job and can handle the issues of the district.
“One thing I want to say right now Dr. Horton, I would like to know, who brought you into the school system, when you weren’t even on the list,” a man in the audience said. " The search committee said that Dr. Tinsley was one of the finalists that could be selected. Since she’s already here, but the problem I look at right now is that is the board. The school board is our problem. By you coming in, you are not going to change this, okay brother, because the board is the problem here,” the man said.
“I’m only asking you of the commitment cause right now I’m saying to that board, what y’all doing is illegal okay. Y’all disrespecting Dr. Tinsley altogether. We’ve got somebody already who can turn this ship around here for our children,” the man said.
Some people are concerned about the stability of the position. The NAACP DeKalb Branch wants the Board to make a careful decision and hear the concerns of residents.
“They need to get it right because we’ve had a revolving door in our district for the last 10 years. We’ve had nine superintendents in 10 years and that’s unacceptable,” said Lance Hammonds, President of, the NAACP Dekalb Branch.
“The purpose of these rallies is to demonstrate to the Board of Education that the community expects them to “Put Kids First” and hire a Superintendent and give them the time and the resources to make a difference,” Hammonds said in a release. “The Board of Education has struggled with this selection task. This will be their 9th Superintendent hire in 10 years. In our opinion the revolving door of superintendents has been an impediment to the stability and academic progress of the school district,” Hammonds said.
Hammonds said they don’t have a problem with Horton, but they want the Board to make the right decision.
During the meeting, some community members asked Horton questions about his practices and policies. They also asked questions about safety, and pay increases for teachers.
Dr. Horton said he would implement things like parent and student groups. He also said he wants to engage with his parents. Horton said overall, he feels he is a good fit for the job.
“I’m a collaborative leader, who leads with empathy. I also lead with passion,” Dr. Horton said. “I understand there are some challenges just in leadership in this district… At least perceived or reality, but I would also say I’m an experienced leader I don’t run from anything,” Horton said.
“I’ve been built for this work, over the last few years,” Horton said. “Most importantly I see Dekalb as a perfect match to what I believe in, which is, iI read with passion, deliver powerful practices, and be persistent to make sure that our children and our students get exactly what they need,” Horton said.
District leaders said a vote could come as early as next week. However, with State Superintendent Woods chiming in, Atlanta News First is keeping a close eye on what could happen next.
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