The DeKalb County Board of Education voted Tuesday night to fire School Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris whose contract was contract was abruptly terminated Tuesday during a virtual meeting. Vasanne Tinsley, who previously served as DeKalb’s deputy superintendent of Student Support & Intervention, will be interim superintendent.
Watson-Harris discovered she was fired when she was kicked out of school board zoom meeting.
“We appreciate Mrs. Cheryl Watson-Harris for her service to the DeKalb County School District and wish her the best in her future endeavors,” Board Chair Vickie B. Turner said in the press release. “The Board has the utmost confidence in Dr. Tinsley serving as the interim superintendent. The immediate departure of Mrs. Watson-Harris will have no bearing on the search for the next superintendent. The Board remains fully committed to an open and transparent process and supporting the students of DCSD.”
As Interim Superintendent, Dr. Vasanne S. Tinsley brings a love of community and a genuine passion for education to the oversight, leadership, and management of day to day operations in the DeKalb County School District. With over twenty-five years plus years of servant leadership, educational and community experience, Tinsley has contributed to various change initiatives in her career that have propelled turnaround and growth efforts within the educational, curriculum and technological sector.
Prior to her retirement in 2020, Dr. Tinsley served as Deputy Superintendent of Student Support and Intervention with the DeKalb County School District. Her work experience during that time included direct responsibility of student support services, athletics, student relations, school choice options, English learners, post secondary transition. public safety and community/family engagement. She also served as Director of Student Support for the DeKalb County School District, working closely with students, parents, faculty and staff via school counseling, social work, psychology, student health and after school programming. In an earlier role of Assistant Director of Guidance, Counseling and Mentoring, Dr. Tinsley supported nearly 400 school counselors and graduation coaches with strategic intervention and programming to increase the academic, personal, social and emotional capacity of DeKalb students. She also worked to connect community partners with the school district by recruiting, training and supporting participants in the community mentoring program, after serving many years as a school counselor. She is a highly regarded advocate for school and district employees and promotes the importance of healthy employee relations.
Committed to the community, she currently serves on Board of Directors for Quality Care for Children (QCC), focusing efforts on the importance of early childhood education. She also serves as a community representative on the Georgia Department of Early Childhood (DECAL) Head Start Policy Council. She has served as a member of the DeKalb Board of Health, United Way- DeKalb and Communities in Schools-Atlanta. Remaining connected to higher education, she has served as an adjunct instructor and in an advisory capacity with several institutions. She also volunteers to support students in the undergraduate setting as a mentor.
A native of Atlanta, GA, she received her BA in Psychology from Spelman College and holds an MS in Counseling Psychology and an Ed. D in Educational Leadership from Clark Atlanta University. She is a member of the National Association of Black School Educators, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is a member of Leadership Atlanta,