DeKalb Schools eliminates communications leadership roles

Eileen Houston-Stewart (Courtesy DeKalb County School District)

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Eileen Houston-Stewart (Courtesy DeKalb County School District)

DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green announced major changes to his communications staff Monday morning, eliminating the chief communications and community relations officer position and the director of strategic communications and marketing.

The roles were held by Eileen Houston-Stewart and Andre Riley, respectively. Both will be reassigned to a "special assignment" for the remainder of the school year. Neither of their salaries — Houston-Stewart makes about $178,000 and Riley makes $123,000 — will change.

“This reorganization plan supports a more efficient and effective communications effort guided by our strategic plan and underscored our commitment to best serve our district, its students and families.”

The note from Green also indicated a consultant would be joining the district to handle communications.

Both Houston-Stewart's and Riley's hiring were met with controversy, overshadowed by their previous relationships with Green. Houston-Stewart was brought to the district in 2016 as an interim chief communications and community relations officer, a newly-created position that mirrored one she had held with Kansas City Public Schools. She was part of a trio of former Kansas City Public Schools employees hired by the district who were brought in as interim appointments. A search firm had been tasked with finding permanent candidates, but Green hired his former employees for the full-time positions.

Riley came to the district from Dallas (Texas) Independent School District in 2016, having worked there for two years after leaving Kansas City Public Schools.