April 4, 2023
Future Chief Devon Horton Selected as Sole Finalist for Superintendent of DeKalb County School District

The DeKalb County Board of Education today announced that it has chosen Devon Horton, a member of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program, as the sole finalist for the district’s next superintendent. DeKalb County School District, located in the Atlanta metro area, has more than 92,000 students and is the third-largest school system in Georgia. Horton is currently superintendent of Evanston/Skokie School District 65, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade district north of Chicago. He was the 2022 National Alliance of Black School Educators Superintendent of the Year.

“It is an honor to be selected as sole finalist for superintendent,” Horton said. “I am grateful to the board for its trust in me and look forward to working with district staff, families, and all those who care about kids in DeKalb County. Growing up, I lived in the nation’s largest housing project and was surrounded by poverty. I know from personal experience that all children can learn—no matter what their home lives are like—if adults at school support them with consistently high expectations and the conditions to help them thrive. Together, we will work to accelerate the current system in DeKalb County so our students get an excellent education that will propel them to succeed.”

Horton is a part of the seventh cohort of the Future Chiefs program, which identifies talented, diverse emerging leaders and integrates them into a community of practice. In the past three months alone, five Future Chiefs have been selected to lead K-12 systems.

“Our Chiefs for Change community congratulates Dr. Horton,” said Chiefs for Change Board Chair and Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez. “The Future Chiefs program prepares talented leaders to expand their impact by serving even more children. Across the country, K-12 systems need bold superintendents who can address complex challenges in public education and create learning environments to meet students’ needs. Our network is committed to building that pipeline through coaching, mentorship, and communities of practice.”

In Evanston/Skokie, Horton has established Academic Skills Centers at all campuses that have supported gains in reading and math for students; has created a teacher residency program in partnership with local universities to train and develop master-level candidates to become teachers in one year; and has leveraged the use of the Racial Equity Impact Assessment to gauge equity considerations in critical decision making. Prior to Evanston/Skokie, Horton was chief of schools for Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky; deputy superintendent for East St. Louis School District 189 in Illinois; and a principal and assistant principal in Chicago Public Schools. He was selected to serve on the Illinois State Board of Education’s Inclusive American History Commission and is identified as a leader in the state’s equity work. Horton has conducted research on the impact of college and university leadership preparation programs designed for K-12 transformational leaders.

Horton holds a doctorate and a master’s in educational leadership from Chicago State University and a bachelor’s in elementary education from Jackson State University.

About Chiefs for Change

Chiefs for Change is a bipartisan network of diverse school superintendents and state education leaders. The network supports members and provides technical assistance; advocates for the adoption of effective policies and practices; and develops the next generation of bold, student-focused superintendents.