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.
Dr. Devon Horton, District Superintendent
Dr. Devon Horton serves as superintendent of the DeKalb County School District, managing the day-to-day operations of a diverse educational system with more than 92,000 students, 14,500 employees and a budget of $2.6 billion.
Since 2020 Dr. Devon Horton served as the proud Superintendent of Evanston/Skokie School District 65, a pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school district just north of the City of Chicago. Dr. Horton is a native Chicagoan who was impacted by redlining and learned the true value of equity early. Throughout his experience across multiple states in education, from the lens of a teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Assistant Superintendent, Chief of Schools, and now Superintendent, passion, persistence, and powerful practices is his proven formula for success. Dr. Horton’s research is focused on school leaders’ impact on Turnaround Schools.
He is a Disruptive leader with an unwavering belief in the potential for success for all children. He has a proven track record of transforming educational institutions into sustainable, high-performing organizations. His accomplishments in leadership were rooted in Chicago Public Schools. Under Dr. Horton’s leadership, every team he has led developed a robust culture of equity-centered decision-making. Data and research provide the target, but the art and science of teaching is where the magic happens for all marginalized students.
Dr. Horton is eager to support communities to help identify leaders and educators who have the desire and passion for making a difference in today’s society. He is a leader who operates with a sense of urgency to create systemic and sustainable change. Dr. Horton is seen as an anti-racist leader across the nation and has presented his work at a number of local, regional, and national education-related conferences. He was recently honored with the 2022 RTM National EdTech All-Star award for his support in the field of education of other dynamic leaders.
Dr. Horton lives by the creed “Equity in Action” and believes it is the only way to build systemic change with a focus on shifting policy, people, and practice. He has built Urban Teacher Residency programs for three different school districts. These programs prioritize selecting and training future teachers who must have a strong belief that all students can learn and meet their maximum potential. While serving in his third year as District 65 Superintendent, he was awarded the National Alliance of Black School Educators 2022-2023 Superintendent of the Year. Dr. Horton created and lives by the motto, “Students do not fail; it’s the systems that we create as adults that fail our students!”