District 65 Announces New Superintendent
A community meet and greet with Dr. Horton has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 29, from 5:30-7pm, at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center (1500 McDaniel Avenue). All District 65 staff, students, families, and community members are invited to meet Dr. Horton at this open house style event. We hope you will take this opportunity to get to know Dr. Horton as he prepares to join the Evanston/Skokie community in the summer of 2020!
On Monday, December 16, 2019, the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education approved the appointment of Dr. Devon Horton as the new Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2020.
“On behalf of the Board, I am excited to announce Dr. Horton as our new leader. He brings a wealth of experience in education. His values, experience, and vision are perfectly aligned to continue and expand on District 65’s priorities. This includes racial and educational equity as well as our focus on teaching and learning in our classrooms and ensuring our schools are intellectually and socially safe for learning through restorative practices.”
Dr. Horton currently serves as the Chief of Schools for the Jefferson County Public School System in Louisville, KY. He began his career in Chicago Public Schools, where he was a middle school teacher for 10 years before moving into building administration. He transitioned into a central office role in 2014 in East St. Louis, where he served as the Deputy Superintendent of Achievement and Administration, before heading to Jefferson County Public Schools in 2018.
Dr. Horton’s philosophy centers on educational equity as the lever to better student outcomes. His list of accomplishments is extensive and includes:
- implementing a district-wide racial equity policy, including prioritizing restorative practices and setting and monitoring equity-based goals to measure school improvement;
- spearheading work on teacher development and retention, creating systems that work with local universities to create a pipeline of diverse teachers that demonstrate culturally responsive practices;
- establishing a district-wide dashboard to make student data more relevant, transparent, and actionable for all stakeholders; and
- creating regular systems of two-way communication to maximize collaboration with multiple stakeholder groups.
Dr. Horton’s work has led to demonstrable increases in MAP scores as well as reductions in suspensions, particularly for students of color. View Dr. Horton's Bio
“District 65 has made historic commitments to not only bring awareness to the inequities that our society has created, but also plans to take action. Over the last couple of years, my role has been to build systems and monitor the implementation of racial equity work, high quality instruction, and leadership development. These priorities have yielded positive outcomes and results for all students. I have always believed that students do not fail, the social structures that we as adults create, fail our students,” said Dr. Horton. “I am humbled and ready to join the Evanston/Skokie family on the journey to becoming a national model district!”
“The Board would like to thank the members of our community for their involvement in this very important process. We heard from nearly 1,000 individuals and the perspectives and insights strongly informed our selection of Dr. Horton,” said Board President Kartha.
In June 2019, with the help of BWP & Associates, the School Board embarked on a nationwide search for the next superintendent of District 65. The Board committed to a transparent and inclusive process that included multiple opportunities for engagement including a community survey, a public forum, and multiple focus groups. More information about the process is available at district65.net/superintendentsearch.
Dr. Horton’s mentors and colleagues call him a collaborative, passionate, and professional leader. The feedback from focus groups conducted during our “Day in the District,” which represented parents, educators, and community leaders, was overwhelmingly positive. Some comments from the focus groups included:
“His comments about what research says (about special ed practices, early childhood, etc) are accurate, he clearly knows research and the literature.”
“Exhibited the clear articulation of systems oriented change and has a clear understanding and vision on how to set Evanston to where we need to be to support our Black and Latinx students.”
“He has a great systems focus. He is very clear, deeply committed to racial equity. I think he would be able to form strong relationships with staff and community members.”
“Not afraid to make tough decisions to do right for kids.”
“Was able to give strong examples of implementing new strategies with success that actually benefited students.”
“He understands that an effective leader is somebody who listens to others and values the leadership and knowledge of educators.”