The DeKalb County Board of Education will resume in-person meetings, beginning April 18, 2022 at the J. David Williamson Board Room in the Robert R. Freeman Administrative Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, Georgia. Due to the importance of maintaining social distance and mitigation efforts, there will be limited seating (100 seats) available on a first-come, first- served basis.
DeKalb Schools TV (DSTV) or Comcast Channel 24 is available for DeKalb County subscribers.
Community Input Session
Individuals wishing to speak may email a written request to the Board Office no later than 12:00 noon on the Wednesday before the Community Input Meeting. Such request shall include the individual’s name, address, topic to be addressed, previous steps taken to resolve the concern, and the group (if any) that the individual is representing. The public comment period will be a maximum of one (1) hour or 20 speakers. Speakers may request to speak in-person or virtually.
Regular Board Meeting Schedule
- 12:30 pm- Executive Session
- Work Session
- 5:45 pm- Community Input Session (In-Person & virtual)
- Business Meeting
Mr. Diijon DaCosta Sr.
Mr. Diijon DaCosta Sr. | District 6
Mr. Diijon DaCosta, Sr. is a DeKalb County resident who graduated from Redan High School. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Sociology, with a concentration in Criminology. While attending KSU, Diijon served as a charter member to establish Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. on the university’s campus.
In 2014, he joined the DeKalb County School District as an educator, before moving on to serve in the county’s Department of Human Resources. Diijon DaCosta, Sr. founded DeKalb Kids Project, Inc. (DKP), a nonprofit organization which focuses on emphasizing the importance of academic success and leadership amongst the youth of DeKalb County. The organization also incorporates community service, mentorship, and various outreach events.
Diijon DaCosta Sr.’s accomplishments include:
- Community Leadership Award (2015)
- Building on A Legacy Award (2016)
- Walmart Community Playmakers Award (2017)
- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Alpha Delta Nu chapter Citizen of the Year Award (2018)
- Kennesaw State University Outstanding Alumnus Award (2018)
- Nominated for the Distinguished Alumni Award of Kennesaw State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences (2018)
- Regional Director, National Black Council of School Board Members (2020)
- NSBA Partners Cohort (2020)
- Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy, Education Finance Certification (2020)
Diijon is a father, educator, mentor, motivational speaker, activist, and community leader. While his passion for education is a top priority, his natural ability to influence the minds of the youth for the betterment of his community speaks volumes. He eagerly embraces and promotes innovation and change.
A core message that Diijon often stresses with youth is, “The way you dress, will be the way you are addressed. Once you change your mind, everything around you will also change.” He not only strives to practice this philosophy, but he actively applies and promotes these characteristics throughout his life.
DaCosta’s primary goal of service is to advance the DeKalb County community and to improve the lives of our youth. He has made a commitment to affect this change through being vigorously active in education, community engagement, and youth empowerment.
Mrs. Deirdre P. Pierce
Mrs. Deirdre P. Pierce | District 3
Deirdre earned her B.A. degree in English from Spelman College, and considers herself a lifelong learner. She worked for Delta Air Lines, Inc. for 33½ years where daily she worked with/encountered people from all walks of life, age groups and ethnicities. Prior to taking early retirement from Delta, she was a substitute teacher in DeKalb County schools on many of her off days.
Deirdre has been a proud member of the East Lake Family YMCA Board of Directors; Georgia PTA Board; local School Councils and PTA/PTSAs; Junior League of DeKalb County, Inc. Community Advisory; Social Justice Ministry Chair at Ray of Hope Christian Church and President of the DeKalb County Council of PTAs when it was one unit.
Deirdre’s School District service has included the
- Strategic Planning and Flexible Education Options Committees
- Family Engagement, E-SPLOST and Superintendent’s Advisory Councils and the
- Planning and Construction Advisory Team for Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology and the state-of-the-art 21st Century Dr. Ronald E. McNair Middle School.
Deirdre’s many years of collaboration with parents, students, community members, faculty, staff and other leaders at Dr. Ronald E. McNair High School, led her to petition the Board of Education to build a Career Technology wing and state-of-the-art Auditorium at the school. The success of this effort encouraged the Board to approve the same for every High School in the District, and later led the way for Deirdre being selected as one of twelve PTA community advocates from across the country, to be recognized as a White House Champion of Change by the Obama Administration.
Deirdre comes to the Board with a love of the District and its people; a passion for equity in education; and a clear understanding of the importance of fiscal responsibility, sound governance, accountability, and teamwork.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead
Mrs. Anna Hill
Mrs. Anna Hill | District 1
Ms. Hill was elected in 2020 for District 1 which includes the following Elementary Schools: Austin, Cary Reynolds (shared with Ms. Gevertz of District 4,) Chesnut, Dunwoody, Hightower, Huntley Hills, Kingsley, Montgomery, and Vanderlyn; the following Middle Schools: Chamblee (shared with Mr. Orson of District 2 and Ms. Gevertz of District 5,) Peachtree, and Sequoyah (shared with Mr. Orson of District 2 and Ms. Gevertz of District 5,); and the following High Schools: Chamblee (shared with Mr. Orson of District 2 and Ms. Gevertz of District 5,) and Dunwoody. Additional Schools, Centers, and Facilities include DeKalb PATH Academy Charter School, Doraville Administrative Facility, Kittredge Magnet, North Dekalb Stadium, and Tapestry Public Charter School.
Ms. Hill is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the State of Georgia and was a member of the Georgia Society of CPAs 2008 Leadership Academy. She has worked in various professional roles including white collar crime investigations, business litigation matters, audits and other accounting investigations. She is the founder of Accounting We Will Go, a business providing accounting and business training services for clients across the United States. Ms. Hill was also the CPA for the Chamblee Downtown Development Association.
Ms. Hill is married and has one son who is a 2019 graduate of Chamblee Charter High School. Her son also attended Huntley Hills and Chamblee Middle School. She is currently working towards her Masters in Museum Studies from Harvard University.
Mrs. Whitney McGinniss
Mrs. Whitney McGinniss | District 2
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Whitney McGinniss is a dedicated public servant, with 20 years of experience in the government and nonprofit sectors. Whitney has worked with families and youth in various roles, including as a Food Stamps and Medicaid caseworker, suicide prevention counselor, reproductive health educator, and homelessness prevention caseworker. After receiving her master’s degree, Whitney moved into administrative and leadership positions, developing and evaluating programs, maintaining and analyzing data, writing and managing grants, and promoting continuous quality improvement for several local nonprofit organizations.
Whitney’s commitment to service has included extensive volunteering in public schools. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Whitney joined the US Peace Corps, where she taught middle school Science and English in Kenya. Whitney has also volunteered with Communities in Schools, Girls on the Run, and as a GED tutor for pregnant teenagers. When Whitney became a mother, she joined her local school’s PTA, participating in grounds clean-up days and advocating for better school facilities. Prior to serving on the DeKalb County School Board, Whitney was a member of the Principal Advisory Council (PAC) for Druid Hills Middle School.
Whitney received a K-12 public education in Tallahassee, FL, where she graduated valedictorian from the School for Applied Individualized Learning (SAIL High). Whitney has associate degrees in liberal arts and graphic design from Tallahassee Community College. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of South Florida and her master’s degree in public policy from Georgia State University. Whitney maintained a 4.00 GPA throughout her college career and has been honored with several educational and research achievement awards.
Whitney lives in Decatur with her husband (Brad), middle schooler (Lee), and their two mini-poodles (Fluffy and Shadow). In addition to her role on the School Board, Whitney serves on the board of the Laurel Ridge Shamrock Civic Association, helps conduct the City of Atlanta’s annual homeless count, and participates in “get out the vote” efforts each election cycle. She enjoys gardening, arts and crafts, home improvement, thrifting, and current events.
Ms. Allyson Gevertz
Ms. Allyson Gevertz | District 4
Ms. Allyson Gevertz is a native of Enid, Oklahoma. She attended Enid Public Schools, where her mother served as a School Board Member. After her high school graduation, she moved to Atlanta to attend Emory University. She received her Bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Emory, then attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts for her Master’s and Specialist degrees in School Psychology.
After working for several years as a School Psychologist for Gwinnett County Public Schools, Allyson began community advocacy work for her county of residence, DeKalb County. She has focused on sexual assault prevention in positions ranging from hotline volunteer to Board of Directors Chair for Day League (formerly DeKalb Rape Crisis Center). As President of the Junior League of DeKalb County, Allyson joined the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2007. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Leadership DeKalb. Her passion for children and families led her to work on the Partnership for Community Action Board, the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra Board, the DeKalb Juvenile Court Judicial Citizens Review Panel, and the Board of Directors for DeKalb County Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).
Because Allyson and her husband David have sent two children to DeKalb County Schools, she has spent many years focused on public education advocacy. She has served in various positions on local school PTAs and School Councils, eventually chairing the regional Emory LaVista Parent Council and DeKalb Chamber’s eduKALB. In 2013, she collaborated with other parent council leaders to form Parent Councils United (PCU), a county-wide grassroots advocacy group focused on educational excellence for all DeKalb students. As PCU Co-President, Allyson served on District-wide committees such as the DCSD Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, the Flexibility Advisory Committee, the Technology Advisory Committee and the Superintendent’s Advisory Council. She was a member of the DCSD team completing Harvard Business School’s Public Education Leadership Conference. In 2016, Allyson chaired the Education-SPLOST campaign. The initiative passed by 71% and is providing over $500 million for improvements to DeKalb Schools. Allyson will continue advocating for all DeKalb students in her role on the Board of Education.
Mrs. Vickie B. Turner
Mrs. Vickie B. Turner | District 5
Mrs. Vickie B. Turner is an educator with over 24 years of experience and is a 20+ year DeKalb County resident. She is co-pastor of Augustine Chapel with her husband. Turner has a Masters of Education from Troy State University and a Bachelors of Science from Bowling Green State University. She currently oversees the day-to-day operations of The Augustine Preparatory Academy of Atlanta (TAPAA) which was formed from Cathedral Academy (est. 1984). Turner had the privilege of being involved in the educational opportunities at the Cathedral since 1992 as an Instructor; Director of the Early Learning Center and for the last 4 years she was Headmaster. At TAPAA, Turner is also the Headmaster responsible for the financial affairs of the school which entail setting budgets, overseeing purchases and monitoring spending trends. She is responsible for implementing measures to ensure fiscal accountability and financial integrity. Turner supervises a full and part-time staff, con-ducts weekly staff meetings to apprise staff of current trends in education, to discuss student performance, and to create ways to increase parent involvement. She is responsible for reviewing school infrastructure, accounting practices, hiring procedures, teacher qualifications and methodologies, and strategies of implementation. Turner regularly reviews and monitors lesson plans employing strategies to accomplish successful student performance. She is responsible for ongoing communication with parents that are facilitated through PTA meetings and Parent/Teacher Conferences. Turner is charged with recruitment and maintaining a viable and sustainable enrollment. She firmly believes in establishing goals for students to aspire them to perform at their maximum potential.
Turner is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and supports community organizations such as Hosea Feed the Hungry, NAACP, Women’s Resource Center and promoting voter registration at local high schools. She has been a participant at elder abuse, child-sex trafficking and mortgage fraud community forums. Turner serves on the Executive Board of the Decatur Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Vice-Chairman of the Board of Grio’s Fire, a Performing Arts Theater Company and former member of the Association of Consortium of Christian School Educators. She has also served as the Chairman of a private school accrediting team requiring periodic travel to oversee new school and renewal of accreditation applications.
Turner’s motto is simple, she will never expect more from your children than she has expected from her own. She is married to Robert Turner, II. The couple has three adult children and three grandchildren.
Dr. Joyce Morley
Dr. Joyce Morley | District 7
Dr. Joyce Morley was born the youngest of fourteen children and is the mother of three daughters. She is the owner and CEO of Morley & Associates, Inc. and J.Morley Productions, Inc. She is affectionately known as the “Doctor of Hope”, & is a “Relationship Expert”. Dr. Morley holds a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) in Elementary Education/Psychology from SUNY Geneseo; a Master of Science degree (MS) in Counseling from SUNY Brockport, Specialist degrees (Ed.S.) in Counseling and Education Administration from SUNY Brockport, and a Doctorate degree (EdD) in Counseling, Family and Worklife (CFW) from the University of Rochester. She is recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and National Certified School Counselor (NCCSC) by the American Counseling Association (ACA), a Clinical Member, Diplomat, and Approved Supervisor by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), a Certified Criminal Justice Specialist by the National Association of Forensic Counselors (NAFC), and a Board Certified Coach (BCC) by the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE).
Dr. Morley has served as an educator in the public school system and as a professor at the post secondary level for many years. She engages in motivational/keynote speaking, training, executive, relationship, life coaching, and mediation at the national, state and local levels, and she serves as a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. Dr. Joyce does consulting for businesses, organizations, and educational institutions, including The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Core Consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofit (GCN), The U.S. Dept. of Education, The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, Project GRAD Atlanta, the Chattanooga, Tennessee Project, and other organizations.
She served as president of the Atlanta Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Jeannette Rankin Foundation in Athens, Georgia. Dr. Morley has served on several Boards of Directors, including Kate’s Club and the Porsche Foxx Community Fund (PFCF). She has been recognized by Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who’s Who Among Human Service Professionals, the World’s Who’s Who Among Women and she is featured in the 2008 Edition of the African-American National Biography.
She is featured on Storyofmylife.com. She is a member of the Partnership Council of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and was selected to serve as an International Delegate for the World Mental Health Organization. She led a mental health team to assist in the mental health needs of hurricane Katrina survivors, especially first responders and their families. Dr. Morley is an elected member and Secretary of the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation Board of Trustees (NBCCF), and she was appointed to the DeKalb County, Georgia School Board by the Governor of the State of Georgia in 2013. She has appeared on several TV programs, including Lifetime TV and the OWN Network. Dr. Morley provides expert opinions for local & national newspapers and magazines, as well as on air appearances for national & international TV/radio programs. Dr. Morley currently co-hosts a monthly radio relationship program and she appears on radio/TV shows globally.
Mr. Marshall D. Orson, Vice Chair | District 2
Marshall D. Orson was first elected in 2012 from District 2 which includes Druid Hills and Cross Keys High Schools, Druid Hills Middle School, Ashford Park, Briar Vista, Fernbank, Laurel Ridge, McLendon, Montclair, Sagamore Hills and Woodward Elementary Schools, the International Community School, the Margaret Harris Center and Fernbank Science Center.
Mr. Orson is the founder of the consulting firm Melbourne Partners which provides business development services for intellectual property licensing, acquisitions and partnership transactions as well as media strategy services. He was a co-founder and partner in the media strategy and crisis management firm Devonwood Media. From 1989 to 2001, Mr. Orson worked at Turner Broadcasting including five years as Vice President and General Manager of the Turner Trade Group (“TTG”). TTG was the world’s largest media company-owned trade business and Mr. Orson oversaw its global media sales and retail operations, and all business and legal issues. Mr. Orson also held a number of executive business positions at Turner focusing on content creation, use, acquisition and disposition. He joined Turner’s legal department in 1989, overseeing deals related to its motion picture library, selected production deals and due diligence projects related to Turner corporate acquisitions.
Prior to joining Turner, Mr. Orson practiced law in the Atlanta office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker after clerking for the Hon. R. Allen Edgar (E.D. Tennessee). He is a graduate of the Duke University School of Law (Order of the Coif and High Honors), where he served as Senior Editor of Law and Contemporary Problems, and he also received his bachelor’s degree (cum laude) from Duke University. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia. Marshall is a 2001 graduate of Leadership Atlanta and co-chaired its 2003 and 2004 Criminal Justice Day programs. Marshall is a past President of the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Atlanta.
Mr. Orson has two children who received their K-12 education in DeKalb County schools including in the International Baccalaureate diploma program at Druid Hills High School. His oldest child is a 2018 graduate of Druid Hills and is now a junior at Boston University where she is a member of the varsity soccer team. His youngest child is a 2020 Druid Hills High School graduate and is a freshman at Yale and a member of its varsity soccer team. Mr. Orson attended public school in Miami, Florida in the Dade County Public Schools and he has a long history of working to support and reform public education and improve opportunities for all children including service on:
- The Emory-LaVista Parent Council where he served as Co-President.
- The Metro Atlanta United Way DeKalb Child Well-Being Committee which he co-chaired.
- The Druid Hills Middle School and Fernbank Elementary School Councils which he chaired.
- The board of directors of Provost Academy of Georgia, a start-up Georgia virtual charter high school.
- The board of directors of APPLE Corps (Atlanta’s original local education fund) from 1986 to 2003 (including six years as chair or vice-chair). He subsequently served on the board of the Atlanta Committee for Public Education and was a member of the founding committee of Great Schools Atlanta.
- The board of directors of the Public Education Network in Washington, D.C. from 1998-2003 including membership on its Public Engagement Committee.
- The board of directors of the Quest for Public Education, a music education initiative for the Atlanta, DeKalb and Fulton school systems.
- Leadership Atlanta’s Education Impact Team which he co-chaired in 2007 and 2008, and the 2010 Education Summit committee.
- The board of directors of the Atlanta Children’s Shelter from 2002 to 2007 where he chaired the Expansion Committee and its Advocacy Committee.
- Campaign manager for Joe Martin, 2010 candidate for Georgia State School Superintendent.
Mr. Orson and his wife Peggy married in 1997.