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Dr. Horton Named Superintendent of the Year

District 65 Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton has been named Superintendent of the Year for his outstanding contributions to the educational advancement of African Americans by the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE). Named after the first Black superintendent of District 65, Joseph E. Hill, and one of the founding NABSE members, the prestigious honor is returning home to Evanston/Skokie.

“I am truly honored to serve this incredible community and humbled to receive this recognition. It's representative of so many individuals who work tirelessly on behalf of our students every single day,” said Superintendent Horton. “When I first took on this role, I made several commitments around my passion for this work, the desire to practice what I preach and hold others accountable, and to always remain persistent in my delivery. Because there are so many individuals from the Board, to our educators, and our families who share in these commitments, we continue to make meaningful progress in support of our students. The sky's the limit and we are only getting started.”

Despite joining the District at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Horton hit the ground running and never looked back. Through the implementation of his MIRACLES continuous improvement system, the District has made tremendous progress in taking action to help ensure schools really work for all students. This work continues to be evidenced in our MIRACLES in Action Reports to our community.

"Dr. Horton has a shared leadership style that elevates the talents of our staff," said Sergio Hernandez, School Board President. "He is a visionary leader who is not afraid to try new approaches to make systemic change. Our Board has been grateful for his continued leadership and his student-centered decision making. I know there are even brighter days ahead for our Lighthouse District with Dr. Horton at the helm."

Under Dr. Horton’s leadership, the District is now in its second year of high dosage tutoring through the launch of Academic Skills Centers. In the wake of the pandemic, this is a promising practice for accelerating learning for students not yet at grade level and is showing strong outcomes for students who participate compared to those who don’t, and specifically for Black and Latinx students.

For the first time in 30 years, the District is working towards a comprehensive, equitable Student Assignment Plan to help ensure that nearly all students have access to a neighborhood school in proximity to their home, inclusive of programming and services that best meet their individual needs. Under the direction of Dr. Horton and informed by the District’s first-ever Master Facilities Plan, the approved Student Assignment Plan includes attendance boundary changes and a funding plan to return a school to the 5th Ward community (estimated completion in 2025).

Dr. Horton’s vision of investing in the professional growth of D65 team members, proactively addressing nationwide teacher shortages, and diversifying our staff has been made a reality over the past several years. Through sought-after grant funding and partnerships with various universities, the District has launched the CREATE 65 Teacher Residency Program, Aspiring Leaders, and a new Teacher Apprenticeship program for paraprofessionals within the District.

Dr. Horton will be awarded with the Joseph E. Hill Superintendent of the Year Award at the 50th Anniversary of the National Alliance of Black School Educators Conference (NABSE) held November 30-December 4 in National Harbor, Maryland.