Pressure mounts as DeKalb County Schools prepare for superintendent vote

The pressure is on for members of the DeKalb County Board of Education, who are now preparing to vote on the next superintendent of schools Wednesday morning.

The shadow of a doubt about their choice as the sole finalist, Dr. Devon Horton, who comes from a smaller school district in rural Illinois, has been looming since the board made its announcement last month.

"We’ve had a revolving door the last few years, so we want them to get it right this time," DeKalb County NAACP President Lance Hammonds said.

On Friday, State Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods sent a letter to the board urging them to reconsider hiring Interim Superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley for the position—citing progress in the district during her time.

"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."


Board members declined to comment further on the decision or selection process Monday but referred FOX 5 to a letter Board Chairman Dijon DaCosta sent in response, saying in-part: "We are committed to making informed decisions that prioritize the best interest of our community." 

At Monday’s school board meeting teachers, parents, and community leaders all stood up to voice concerns about what would be the eighth DeKalb County School District superintendent named since 2011.

"What makes this board think they are competent enough to choose a superintendent given your record…when the state school superintendent says he doesn’t think your selection is a good one, to me that says you’re making a huge mistake," Organization of DeKalb Educators President Deborah Jones said addressing the board.

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The DeKalb County Board of Education faces mounting pressure as the vote on the sole finalist for the superintendent position draws closer. (FOX 5)

While King and others said they disagreed with the state trying to step in, the message to taxpayers about the group they elected to make that decision was beyond clear. 

"If we’re back here in two years doing this again, trying to find another superintendent, you need to make sure that they’re not up here on the dais anymore as a member of our board of education because they didn’t get it right," Hammonds stated.

Under state law, school districts must allow at least 14 days for public input before finalizing an agreement with a new superintendent. The vote will take place Wednesday, April 19 at 10:30 a.m.