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Monthly Archives: June 2020

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Statement from the Chamber Regarding Racism

Statement from the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Regarding Systemic Racism

DECATUR, Ga. – June 29, 2020 

The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce stands with our community in the fight to an end to all forms of systemic racism. We value diversity and support equity and justice in our community. We are committed to working with local, state, and federal business leaders and elected officials to engage in meaningful dialogue that identifies opportunities to eliminate systemic racism.  Most importantly, we are committed to doing the necessary work and building partnerships to make real and lasting change.

Advocacy and public policy are major tenants of our work. We commend Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly for the passage and signing of the landmark Hate Crimes Bill last week.  Our Chamber joined hundreds of businesses across Georgia calling for its passage. 

“The DeKalb Chamber denounces all forms of overt and covert racism and is committed to helping to root it out of our society.  We applaud Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly for passing hate crimes legislation but realize that as a community there is much more work to do.  We look forward to working with our business community and other partners to do the necessary work.” says Kenny Coleman, DeKalb Chamber Interim President, and CEO.

It has been well documented that communities and businesses thrive when they are diverse and built on principles of equity and inclusion. This is the DeKalb we envision and will work to build.

We believe now is the time for us to unite and actively fight all forms of racism, injustice, and hate that exists in our society.  The DeKalb Chamber is committed to being a catalyst for positive change in our community.    


The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization with the mission to support, promote, and sustain business development in DeKalb County. With 82 years of service in the community, DeKalb Chamber focuses on four critical areas including education, workforce, and economic development, public policy, and business member services. We are the primary resource for businesses in DeKalb County giving access to people, information, and opportunities. For more information on DeKalb Chamber, please visit their website at www.dekalbchamber.org or call 404-378-8000.


DeKalb Schools Names New Superintendent

Media Contact:
Chris Glazier

Portia Kirkland
Interim Director of Communications

For Immediate Release


2019—2020 Superintendent Search

Watson-Harris to assume superintendent role starting July 1


June 18, 2020 – The DeKalb County Board of Education today officially announced its selection of Cheryl Watson-Harris as the next superintendent of DeKalb County School District (DCSD).

Cheryl Watson-HarrisThe board voted (6 – 1) to appoint Watson-Harris, the District’s sole finalist, as the next superintendent and execute a three-year employment contract with an annual base salary of $325,000. She will assume the role on July 1.

“We are excited and proud to officially welcome Mrs. Watson-Harris to DeKalb County School District as our next superintendent,” said Board Chair Marshall Orson. “Her experience as both an innovator at the New York City Department of Education and a passionate champion for children is precisely what we need to continue positioning our students for success.”

Watson-Harris was named the sole finalist in the board’s search for a new superintendent on June 4. During the last 14 days, a waiting period required by Georgia law after announcing a superintendent finalist, Watson-Harris participated in virtual meetings with employees, community members, public officials and the media. During these interactions, she discussed her experience, work style and vision for the District while learning more about the community’s expectations and priorities for DCSD.

“The community’s passion for student success was palpable in each meeting I had, and I want to thank everyone who engaged with me. I intend to meet as many of you in person as soon as conditions permit,” Watson-Harris said. “It is encouraging to see an abundance of support for the important work ahead, and I am excited to get started.”

An accomplished leader in education, Watson-Harris brings a wealth of experience from her roles in New York and Boston. She currently serves as First Deputy Chancellor, Senior Director of Field Support and Brooklyn Executive Director for the New York City Department of Education. Previously she served as Network Superintendent and principal for Boston Public Schools (BPS). She is the youngest person ever named to a principal position in BPS.

Watson-Harris has an undergraduate degree from Marymount College and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. She is currently a doctoral candidate at New York University’s Steinhardt School with an anticipated completion date of 2021 for a degree in educational leadership and innovation.

Watson-Harris will succeed Ramona Tyson, who has served as interim superintendent and superintendent since November 2019. Tyson has led the school district through the COVID-19 pandemic, reprioritized the organization’s fiscal responsibilities and instituted changes to relieve overcrowded schools. After three decades of extraordinary service to DCSD, she will retire on June 30.


ABOUT US: The DeKalb County School District utilizes Deep Teaching and Learning to prepare its more than 102,000 students for college and careers. Deep Teaching and Learning engages students to think critically, solve problems, communicate, and collaborate effectively to be successful in college, career and life. To learn more, visit www.dekalbschoolsga.org. Submit questions or comments to Communications@dekalbschoolsga.org.

Free COVID-19 Testing at The Gallery at South DeKalb

Oakhurst Medical Centers partners with DeKalb County to offer free COVID-19 testing at

The Gallery at South DeKalb (South DeKalb Mall) Monday-Friday from 10 pm -3 pm.

Free COVID-19 Testing Site South DeKalb Mall

Enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act


For Immediate Release

June 8, 2020



Joint Statement by Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza Regarding Enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act


WASHINGTON—U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza issued the following statement today following the enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act:

“We want to thank President Trump for his leadership and commend Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy for working on a bipartisan basis to pass this legislation for small businesses participating in the Paycheck Protection Program. 

“We also want to express our gratitude to Chairman Rubio, Ranking Member Cardin, Senator Collins, Congressman Roy, Congressman Phillips, and other members of Congress who have helped to create and guide our implementation of this critical program that has provided over 4.5 million small business loans totaling more than $500 billion to ensure that approximately 50 million hardworking Americans stay connected to their jobs.

“This bill will provide businesses with more time and flexibility to keep their employees on the payroll and ensure their continued operations as we safely reopen our country.

“We look forward to getting the American people back to work as quickly as possible.”

Upcoming Procedures

SBA, in consultation with Treasury, will promptly issue rules and guidance, a modified borrower application form, and a modified loan forgiveness application implementing these legislative amendments to the PPP.  These modifications will implement the following important changes:

  • Extend the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks after the date of loan disbursement to 24 weeks after the date of loan disbursement, providing substantially greater flexibility for borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness.  Borrowers who have already received PPP loans retain the option to use an eight-week covered period.
  • Lower the requirements that 75 percent of a borrower’s loan proceeds must be used for payroll costs and that 75 percent of the loan forgiveness amount must have been spent on payroll costs during the 24-week loan forgiveness covered the period to 60 percent for each of these requirements. If a borrower uses less than 60 percent of the loan amount for payroll costs during the forgiveness covered period, the borrower will continue to be eligible for partial loan forgiveness, subject to at least 60 percent of the loan forgiveness amount having been used for payroll costs.
  • Provide a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees for borrowers that are unable to return to the same level of business activity the business was operating at before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements or guidance issued between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, related to worker or customer safety requirements related to COVID–19.
  • Provide a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees, to provide protections for borrowers that are both unable to rehire individuals who were employees of the borrower on February 15, 2020, and unable to hire similarly qualified employees for unfilled positions by December 31, 2020.
  • Increase to five years the maturity of PPP loans that are approved by SBA (based on the date SBA assigns a loan number) on or after June 5, 2020.
  • Extend the deferral period for borrower payments of principal, interest, and fees on PPP loans to the date that SBA remits the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount to the lender (or, if the borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, 10 months after the end of the borrower’s loan forgiveness covered period).
  • In addition, the new rules will confirm that June 30, 2020, remains the last date on which a PPP loan application can be approved.



DCSD Names Cheryl Watson-Harris as Finalist for District Superintendent

Media Contact:
Chris Glazier
Portia Kirkland
Interim Director of Communications

For Immediate Release

June 4, 2020


DeKalb County Schools Names Cheryl Watson-Harris as Finalist for District Superintendent

Current NYC DOE first deputy chancellor expected to start as superintendent July 1


STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga.— The DeKalb County Board of Education today announced Cheryl Watson- Harris as the sole finalist in its search for a new superintendent.

A celebrated leader with 26 years of experience in large urban school districts, Watson-Harris has a long history in education as a teacher, principal, network superintendent, and senior executive director of field support. Currently, she serves as First Deputy Chancellor for the New York City Department of Education (DOE), the largest school district in the country with more than one million enrolled students.

“Cheryl Watson-Harris is part of the next generation of outstanding leaders in public education,” Board Chair Marshall Orson said. “A proven change agent, Cheryl is described as a ‘champion for children.’ She fits the criteria desired by the DeKalb community, including her dedication to high levels of academic achievement, her experience helping lead large, diverse, urban districts, her commitment to equity for all students, and her ability to plan with a long-term vision for the District.”

Georgia law mandates that school districts must wait 14 days before finalizing an agreement with a new superintendent. During this period, Watson-Harris will meet remotely with District employees and community members, including an online town hall meeting during which the public is invited to ask questions. To account for safety protocols regarding COVID-19, all meetings will be conducted virtually.

“Throughout my career as an education leader, I have made it my priority to ensure every child has access to high-quality education and is prepared for successful citizenship in our fast-paced 21st-century global community,” said Watson-Harris. “I believe the public school system is the heart and soul of our country. I am passionate and excited about working with our district employees, our parents and caregivers, and the local business and corporate community to develop district practices that are impactful and equitable for children. I am confident my experience in district restructuring and the equitable allocation of resources, as well as my achievements in improving school performance, can help DeKalb Schools continue to move in the right direction.”

A New York City native, Watson-Harris began her career as an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn. After earning a master’s degree from Harvard, she served as an assistant principal and principal in Boston, becoming the youngest principal in the history of the Boston Public Schools. After serving as a network superintendent, she moved back to her hometown of Brooklyn to serve on the central leadership team of the New York City DOE. There, she designed the new school support and supervision structure for 1,600 schools and led the creation of the Comprehensive School Support Model, which allows the system to provide better planning and a more equitable distribution of funds. She currently oversees all the DOE executive superintendents and works to support and develop teachers, principals, and district administrators.

“This is a bittersweet day for us, and we are so grateful for all Cheryl has contributed to advancing equity and excellence for New York City’s 1.1 million public school students,” said DOE Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “We wish her the best in this incredible new endeavor and know the students of DeKalb County would be lucky to have Cheryl as their leader.”

Watson-Harris is expected to sign a contract with the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) after the public input period and formally assume the role of superintendent on July 1, 2020. Superintendent Ramona Tyson will continue to lead the District until Watson-Harris officially steps in.

The town hall will be available to view live on the DCSD website and via broadcast on DSTV 24 on Thursday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. To submit questions for the town hall meeting with Watson-Harris, call 678-676-0722 or email dcsdsupesearch@dekalbschoolsga.org. For more information and updates about the schedule, visit the superintendent search page and follow the DCSD social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


ABOUT US: The DeKalb County School District utilizes Deep Teaching and Learning to prepare its more than 102,000 students for college and careers. Deep Teaching and Learning engages students to think critically, solve problems, communicate, and collaborate effectively to be successful in college, career, and life. To learn more, visit www.dekalbschoolsga.org. Submit questions or comments to Communications@dekalbschoolsga.org.