DeKalb School Board approves $325K settlement with superintendent two years after firing her

Then-DeKalb School Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris comments during the DeKalb County Board of Education regular metting on Monday, April 18, 2022. (Dean Hesse/Decaturish)

The DeKalb County School Board approved a settlement with former superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris during its regular meeting on April 15.

The settlement comes two years after the school board fired her. The board approved the agreement at the end of a lengthy regular board meeting.

“At its Regular Business Meeting on April 15, 2024, DeKalb County School Board Members approved a settlement to former Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris based on the terms of her original contract for $325,000 plus $16,000 in attorney fees,” a district spokesperson said. “The vote was 6-1.”

Watson-Harris also did not respond to a request for comment.

Watson-Harris ultimately landed another job in the area, becoming president and executive director of Achieve Atlanta. It’s still not clear exactly why the board fired her, though the board has been notorious for churning through superintendents over the years. The school board has had seven of them since 2013.

But the board fired Watson-Harris in dramatic fashion. Her firing occurred during a controversy about poor conditions at Druid Hills High School. Later reporting by Decaturish revealed that Watson-Harris was pushing a plan to reorganize the central office before her firing. Still, it’s unclear if that played any role in her termination.

Following the firing of Watson-Harris, the school board hired Dr. Vasanne Tinsley as interim superintendent. On April 19, the DeKalb County School Board hired Dr. Devon Horton as Watson-Harris’ replacement.

Jaedon Mason contributed reporting to this story.

This story was provided by WABE content partner Decaturish.