Who is Vasanne Tinsley, interim DeKalb County school superintendent?

DeKalb County Interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley speaks to the news media on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. She was named to the position Tuesday after the Board of Education terminated Cheryl Watson-Harris, who had been superintendent for nearly two years.  (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

caption arrowCaption
DeKalb County Interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley speaks to the news media on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. She was named to the position Tuesday after the Board of Education terminated Cheryl Watson-Harris, who had been superintendent for nearly two years. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

The DeKalb County Board of Education on Tuesday appointed Vasanne S. Tinsley as its interim superintendent.

She now leads a district with more than 93,000 students and 15,500 employees.

The announcement was made shortly after the board terminated Cheryl Watson-Harris. She had been superintendent of the state’s third-largest school system for less than two years.

ExploreFormer DeKalb school superintendent says she was blindsided by firing

The board’s 4-1 vote to fire Watson-Harris happened during a virtual meeting. Vicki Turner, Diijon DaCosta, Anna Hill and Joyce Morley voted in favor of termination. Deirdre Pierce was the lone no vote. Two board members, Allyson Gevertz and Marshall Orson, were absent.

The board plans to conduct a formal search for a permanent superintendent, according to a statement released late Tuesday. It said the board wants to shift the school system in a new direction with the leadership change.

“The Board expects Dr. Tinsley to be the unifying leader the community currently needs,” the statement said.

Before retiring from the district in 2020, Tinsley served as the district’s deputy superintendent of student support and intervention. In that role she was directly responsible for athletics, community and family engagement, English learners, post-secondary transition, public safety, school choice options, student relations and student support services, according to a statement on the district’s website.

With more than 25 years of experience, the statement said, “Tinsley has contributed to various change initiatives in her career that have propelled turnaround and growth efforts within the educational, curriculum and technological sector.”

She also served as director of student support, assistant director of guidance counseling and mentoring and began her career as a school counselor. She has a doctoral degree in educational leadership and a master’s degree in counseling from Clark Atlanta University.

ExploreBoard chair: Druid Hills High problems fall on DeKalb superintendent

Tinsley was voted interim superintendent the day Board Chair Vicki Turner sent a letter to Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods blaming Watson-Harris for unacceptable conditions at the aging Druid Hills High School.

The board is in the midst of changing its approach to facility maintenance to focus on critical needs at schools rather than select major projects. Tinsley will inherit the responsibility of enacting that plan.

caption arrowCaption
Cheryl Watson-Harris served as superintendent of the DeKalb County School District for less than two years. (REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA J

Cheryl Watson-Harris served as superintendent of the DeKalb County School District for less than two years. (REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA J

caption arrowCaption
Cheryl Watson-Harris served as superintendent of the DeKalb County School District for less than two years. (REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION)

Credit: REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA J

Credit: REBECCA WRIGHT FOR THE ATLANTA J

About the Author

Editors' Picks