DEKALB COUNTY, GA– The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) announced the appointment of four new leaders by the Board of Education earlier this week. Officials said the new staff members bring unique experience and expertise to their respective positions, further enhancing DCSD’s commitment to providing excellent educational opportunities for its students.
The new leaders will fill previously vacant district positions, the district’s new superintendent said. The start dates are still to be determined.
“These exceptionally talented leaders join an already outstanding District leadership team. I am confident that together, we will swiftly and strategically work to enhance academic achievement and revolutionize our processes and structures to best ensure the success and well-being of our students,” said DCSD Superintendent Devon Horton, PhD.
The new leaders and their positions are:
§ Chief of Community Engagement & Innovative Partnerships: Yolanda Williamson, PhD
§ Associate Superintendent of Continuous Improvement, Markisha Mitchell, PhD
§ Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Schools, Ms. Michelle Dillard
§ Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Mr. Elijah Palmer
Horton said the new leaders’ willingness to join DCSD will help advance the district’s commitment to designing and delivering a world-class education across its 138 schools, centers, and programs.
The biographical professional experience and educational backgrounds of the appointees include:
Yolanda Williamson, PhD, was approved as the Chief of Community Engagement and Innovative Partnerships, which is responsible for overseeing a comprehensive strategy and implementation of all community partnership and engagement initiatives on behalf of the district. Since 2020, Williamson served as the DCSD Executive Director of Board Operations. Her previous experience includes being Superintendent of Calhoun County Schools (GA), DCSD Principal at The Champion School, Candler Elementary, and Kingsley Charter School, in addition to her positions as an assistant principal and teacher at multiple schools in DCSD, City Schools of Decatur, and Newton County. Williamson holds a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Sarasota, a Master of Arts from Clark Atlanta University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Georgia State University.
§ Markisha Mitchell, PhD, was approved as the Associate Superintendent of Continuous Improvement. In this role, Mitchell will plan and monitor student assessment programs, federal programs, research assessments, grants, leadership development, accreditation, and standardized testing services following applicable federal, state, and local requirements. Professionally, Dr. Mitchell served as Dr. Horton’s Chief of Staff in the Evanston-Skokie School District before her DCSD appointment. She’s also served as a middle and high school principal, assistant principal, and teacher. Dr. Mitchell holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from National Louis University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Illinois State University.
§ Ms. Michelle Dillard was appointed as the Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Schools. She is charged with providing oversight, leadership, and direction for the efficient operation and academic management of schools in accordance with Board policy and strategic initiatives. Most recently, Dillard served with Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY, as an assistant superintendent since 2013. Prior to that, she was a high school principal, principal intern, assistant principal, and teacher. Dillard holds multiple degrees from Western Kentucky University (Master of Science and Rank I- School Superintendent), a Bachelor of Science from Murray State University, and an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Career Com Business College.
§ Mr. Elijah Palmer is the new Director of Organizational Effectiveness. He will oversee the design and execution of organizational effectiveness programs and district-wide key initiatives. Most recently, he was the Director of Culture and Climate with the Evanston/Skokie School District and a high school Culture and Climate Coordinator. Palmer holds a Master of Science in School Business Management from Northern Illinois University, a Bachelor of Arts from Duquesne University, and an Associate of Arts degree from the Kennedy King City College of Chicago.
Mr. Antonio Ross, who was selected as the new Director of Continuous Improvement and Accountability, has declined to join DCSD, citing his decision to pursue another opportunity that better aligns with his immediate needs and priorities.