District 65 needs to replace Devon Horton (2nd from left at board meeting).

The Evanston/Skokie District 65 school board will go behind closed doors Monday to start talking about finding a new superintendent.

Current superintendent Devon Horton is leaving at the end of June to take the same position in a much larger district in DeKalb County, Georgia.

Last Wednesday the board decided to go hold the closed session to discuss personnel matters, including the superintendent search.

It was not stated whether the closed session will deal only with hiring an interim leader, or also include beginning the search process for a permanent superintendent (or as permanent as the job can be in such a high-turnover position).

Board president Sergio Hernandez has previously said that “hiring a superintendent is our most important job” … but it is “not our desire to rush this process.”

The board, he said, plans to appoint an interim superintendent to take over when Horton leaves, “while we engage in a national search for a new leader.”

Hernandez was re-appointed as board president on May 10, for the next year.

The vote by his board colleagues was unanimous, as was the vote to retain Soo La Kim as board vice-president.

Also that day, the newest board member, Omar Salem, was sworn in.

Omar Salem takes oath of office as D65 school board member on May 10.

Salem, a first-time candidate, was top vote getter in the five-person school board race in April. Incumbents Mya Wilkins and Sergio Hernandez were re-elected, to fill out the three winners’ slots. Each winner gets a four-year term.

Salem is a District 65 parent and a teacher in another district. He is currently on leave from the teaching position to serve as professional issues director with the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

In a statement issued by the district, Salem said, “I’m hoping to tap into my 15 years of experience in public education to help shape policies that advance equity and inclusion and ensure that all students feel safe, challenged and loved.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join the Conversation


  1. On the year anniversary of the whole noose non hate crime perpetuated by the lax local media and pushed by the building principal and this school board, they need to find a new superintendent. A superintendent that pushed that nonsense a year ago to a massive pay hike elsewhere. The building principal that pushed it incessantly is a finalist for a golden apple. The school board did have full time working professionals, now those same working stiffs have transitioned to full time consultants yet anothwr “miracle.”

    The man left as soon as he could for a bigger payday, leaving the school district in a far worse shape than it was when he got here. Enrollment is way down, teachers still leaving in droves, and academic achievement falling as precipitously as both.

    The interim is likely to be someone in house that has either left CPS in shame, or was a massive part of the three issues listed above. Left to their own devices by an ideological pure school board and a scared, complicit, 4th estate. The same media that didn’t really question his need to spend well over half of million dollars on armed security. The same media that when it was fully investigated and found no hate crime happened at all, zero members of the local media questioned how/why it was pushed so hard in such unequivocal terms by the school board all the way down.

    Hey even a local reverend is getting an award after referring to the act as an act of terrorism. The only people that seemingly didn’t get awards were the well connected people on Facebook calling for the head of an 11 year old and the guy with the bullet proof vest screaming through a megaphone daily while kids were supposedly learning.

    No caring, competent, qualified individual would come take that top job at D65 as it’s a circus. Much like zero people wanting the city manager job with the city. The fun part is the apathetic voters don’t care as long as they have the “in this house” signs fully on display on their well manicured lawn of their big value properties. Those that do care are the 100 or so pack of bullies that show up and decide anyone that breathes oxygen and isn’t them is a shameful, vile, racist thirsty to destroy the utopia they’ve built through bulling on Facebook.

    Good luck Evanston but the truth is, you get what you deserve.

    1. Jo Jo! I read this twice and kept saying “yes and yes and yes!” We left in 2019 when they told my son (who is 50% Hispanic) to check his white privilege at the door. We’ve watched from halfway across the country D65 implode with horrendous & dangerous leadership. The children of Evanston deserve better.

    2. Yes, plenty of District 65 parents on publicly stated on Facebook that they wanted to know the name of the child who committed the noose “hate crime” so the child’s family could be shamed and run out of town. These are the same folks who thought that parents had no right to know what discipline was planned for a Nichols student who tricked another student into ingesting marijuana gummies, leading to an ER visit. Not to mention these people constantly defending the “children” at ETHS who are arrested for illegal activities like bringing guns to school.

    3. Jo Jo you kinda sound pro-noose. The bar for actually pushing charges to the level of being classified a “hate crime” is not low, but I don’t think there’s a legitimate take of arguing that it was not a hateful act that evoked painful memories for black community members. Kind of ironic you lambast the local media while reading/commenting on…a local media website. You’re still here!

      I take issue with a number of things the current admin and board is responsible for, but honestly one of the biggest issues is apathetic Evanston residents. When you have a lack of fresh candidates running for board and low turnout for local elections, what do you expect?

      Going to be interesting when the new SAP takes shape as the new school opens. The next supt is more consequential than the outgoing one IMO, based on all the changes ahead to be implemented.

  2. Is there no one on the present staff who could be elevated to the superintendency without need for an expensive national search that usually ends badly?

    1. The short answer to that is no. A huge percentage of the current administration came with or shortly after Dr. Horton and are a part of driving District 65 schools i to a ditch.

      1. I hear that the Principal at Orrington is widely respected – how about hiring her as Interim Sup’t. And then offer her a chance to prove herself worthy of being made permanent. Contact-to-hire like is common in the corporate sector.

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