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District 65 names new superintendent

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The Evanston School District 65 School Board tonight appointed Devon Horton as superintendent effective July 1.

Horton is now chief of schools, one of several assistant-superintendent-level positions, in the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky.

Board President Sunith Kartha said Horton will bring to District 65 “a wealth of experience in education.”

“His values, experience, and vision are perfectly aligned to continue and expand on District 65’s priorities,” Kartha added. “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.”

Horton began his career in the Chicago Public Schools, where he was a middle school teacher for 10 years starting in 2000 and spent another four years as a principal.

He transitioned into a central office role in 2014 in East St. Louis, where he served as assistant superintendent and then deputy superintendent of achievement and administration, before heading to Louisville in 2018.

Horton received a doctorate in educational leadership from Chicago State University last December and also holds a master’s degree in the same specialty from Chicago State. His bachelor’s degree in elementary education is from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

Horton has been actively seeking a new position and was recently a finalist for superintendent jobs in Indianapolis, Indiana; Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Rochester, New York.

A statement from the district says Horton’s philosophy centers on educational equity as the lever to better student outcomes. It discribes his accomplishments as including:

  • 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
  • creating regular systems of two-way communication to maximize collaboration with multiple stakeholder groups

The district says Horton’s work has led to demonstrable increases in MAP scores as well as reductions in suspensions, particularly for students of color.

“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,” Horton said.

“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 Horton. “I am humbled and ready to join the Evanston/Skokie family on the journey to becoming a national model district!”

Kartha expressed thanks to the more than 1,000 community members who commented on the selection process. Their “perspectives and insights strongly informed our selection of Dr. Horton,” Kartha added.

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