DeKalb County interim superintendent ‘happy to be back home’ with the district

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Earlier this week, the DeKalb County School District parted ways with former Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris. The school board named Dr. Vasanne Tinsley the interim while they search for a permanent replacement.

Dr. Tinsley says that after a brief stint being retired, she’s ready to get back to work for the students of DeKalb County.

“I am thrilled. I am excited. I am happy to be back home,” she told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes.

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As a 25-year veteran of DeKalb County Schools and a former deputy superintendent for the district, the school board felt she was the perfect choice to lead them through some of the major issues the district currently faces.

With new leadership, many people will be expecting Dr. Tinsley to fix some of the major issue swiftly, but she says she’s ready for the task.

“One of the things we’ll be doing is take a thorough assessment. We’re gonna start from here, the ground floor, and see what’s out there and needs to be done,” she explained.

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During a news conference on Wednesday, Dr. Tinsley held hands with school board chair Vickie B. Turner. Both women say working together is the only way to get things back on track after Watson-Harris was fired.

Harris released a statement on Wednesday that said, in her eyes, the decision to let her go came out of nowhere.

“I was unaware that my contract or employment would be discussed during yesterday’s meeting, as I was not notified - and it was not identified on the meeting notice…,” the statement read.

Board members who voted her out say they wish her well, but it’s time to move on.

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State Superintendent Richard Woods called out the district saying there is a lack of leadership and about $500 million in COVID-19 relief funds that has not been spent.

“This is day one, so what I can tell you is that I have research to do. But I will let you know that if there are funds out there that can be utilized to make sure we address these issues, we’ll make sure its done,” Dr. Tinsley told Fernandes.