By FOX 5 Atlanta
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – The DeKalb County Board of Education has voted 6-1 to hire Dr. Devon Horton as the next superintendent for the DeKalb County School District.
Horton, who comes from a smaller school district in rural Illinois, was the sole finalist for the position.
“On behalf of the DeKalb County Board of Education, I am pleased to officially welcome Dr. Devon Horton as the next superintendent of the DeKalb County School District,” said Diijon DaCosta, chair of the school board.
On Friday, State Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods sent a letter to the board urging them to reconsider hiring Interim Supt. Dr. Vasanne Tinsley for the position—citing progress in the district during her time.
During a series of town hall meetings last week, some parents and community members questioned whether Horton could lead the third largest school district in the state.
“He’s only been the superintendent in a district of six or seven thousand people…this district is bigger…you can’t ‘hope’ (somebody) does a thing right,” said DeKalb County resident and former teacher Amos King. “We need somebody that’s been tested and proven.”
School board member Joyce Morley was the one board member who voted against Horton.
“It’s about the children and that you all are willing to go down and pick somebody up and fix ’em up. We are supposed to be educating children, not superintendents,” said Morley.
Morley also criticized how the board has treated Tinsley.
“I think it’s a shame and a disgrace that you bring somebody in and have her to save you and then turn around and say they’re not worthy afterward,” said Morley. “How can we do this?”
School board member Vickie Turner said their decision is in the best interest of the children.
“We know that many things have been said and many of them are salacious lies, but we know the truth and that’s what I stand on, and we’re going to do what is just, what is right and what is honorable,” said Turner.
The DeKalb County School District has had eight leaders since 2010. The district must finalize Horton’s contract, though he will likely begin July 1. He said he plans to prove his doubters wrong through his work.
“I will make sure that in a short amount of time those individuals that are not sure about the leadership, they’ll see what the board has seen in me as well to be able to make sure that we can lift this district,” said Horton.