May 26, 2022


The end of the school year and the beginning of the summer is always an anticipated time, and this one is certainly no different. Before I share my thoughts on another year in the books for the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) and let you in on a few exciting, upcoming events, I’ll begin with a few thoughts on the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this week.

As the names and stories of the lives lost far too soon were revealed, it was a somber reminder of life’s fragility. Each victim had family who loved them and will miss them forever. They had hopes, dreams, ambitions, and contributions that will indefinitely remain unrealized.

In the wake of this tragedy, there is a national conversation regarding how to prevent similar acts of violence. Those discussions will continue, but what is not up for debate is that schools should be safe havens in communities. Every reasonable measure to ensure safety should be utilized to protect precious students and staff in their schools.

Our condolences and prayers are with the Robb Elementary School students, staff, friends, and community during this unimaginable time.

As we head into summer, we must celebrate the many successes we’ve enjoyed as a district. First, we returned to in-person instruction after surviving a global pandemic. I am very proud of the resiliency our students, teachers, staff, families, and community have shown during this challenging period.

Last week, we celebrated our Classes of 2022 as 5,834 graduates earned the right to walk across the stage and into the next exciting chapter of their lives. There were 24 graduation ceremonies at the high school level, and in my remarks to some, I referenced the famous saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It comes from an ancient African proverb that illustrates needing an entire community of people to work together for children to grow in a safe and healthy environment. Family, friends, teachers, staff, and other community members helped these graduates reach the mark. Their villages were strong!

This summer, the learning continues for many DeKalb County students in our MOSAIC Summer Learning Program. We’ve structured engaging and exciting educational programs such as Girls Who Code, Aviation Camp, Culinary Camp, and more. I cannot wait to drop by and see how these impressive students grow their ideas in creative, interactive environments.

Don’t think that the students will be the only ones having all the fun! Our principals and assistant principals are actively participating in the new and improved Summer Leadership Institute. It’s all a part of our commitment to transform leaders into extraordinary performers who can deliver positive learning results for every student in every school. They are even practicing mindfulness techniques for their own mental health and wellness.

On a personal note, I have to thank everyone who has reached out to encourage and welcome me back to my beloved DeKalb County School District. Without question, your support will be vital as we continue to address the needs of our families, staff, and community.

I’ve been asked many times what my focus will be as interim superintendent. My response is simple: The students- their success and achievement! There are so many wonderfully amazing things happening every day in our schools! Although they sometimes get drowned out, let’s commit to staying focused on working together- as a village should- to invest in the lives of our next generation of leaders.

In closing, take a moment to take care of yourself! We need you healthy and mentally and physically well. Whether you are a staff member, parent, or community supporter, you are an important piece of our DCSD puzzle.

Keeping Students First,

Dr. Vasanne S. Tinsley, Interim Superintendent
Dekalb County School District