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Atlanta Public Schools name Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen superintendent finalist

44 year old Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen, of the Austin Independent School District, is the finalist selected to fill the seat of Atlanta Public School Superintendent.
Austin Independent School District

During a Thursday afternoon press conference, the Atlanta Public School Board and the Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Search Committee (SSC) announced its selection to fill the seat of Atlanta Public School Superintendent.

44 year old Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen, of the Austin Independent School District, is the finalist selected to fill the seat current held by Erroll Davis.

Carstarphen told parents, educators and students attending the announcement at Hope Hill Elementary that she is truly humbled by the selection. She says she will work for, and answer to the students, as well as work to attract and keep quality educators in the district. Carstarphen says she will bring her experience to Atlanta and work to put positive systems in place to address critical student needs.

School Board Chair Courtney D. English cited Dr. Carstarphen’s track record of student results and her collaborative style as the key combination for success.

“Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen was our unanimous choice not just because of her impressive track record of success, but also because of the means by which she achieved these results,” said English. “She has repeatedly united communities around a collective vision to achieve unprecedented and lasting academic excellence for students.”

Carstarphen’s track record of achievements include:

  • Improving graduation rates to an all-time high of 82.5% and reduced longitudinal dropout rate by 25%
  • Increasing the African American graduation rate to 79.6 percent, specifically African American males to 76.2%
  • Increasing overall SAT and ACT exam scores
  • Increasing college application rates to an all-time high of 92%
  • Improving attendance rates at all levels to 95%
  • In state accountability, elementary schools exceeded the state passing rate in reading, math, writing and science; middle schools ranked first among comparable districts in four areas; and high school’s passing rates on the end-of-course exams met or exceeded the State rate for 10 of the 11 tests.

Meria Carstarphen joined the Austin Independent School District in 2009 as its first African American and first female superintendent. Before Austin she served as the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota.

Carstarphen says coming to Atlanta is like returning home as she is originally from Selma, Alabama, where her parents still live today.

She began her career as a middle school teacher in Selma and taught elementary education in Seville, Spain, and Caracas, Venezuela.

Carstarphen has also held accountability positions for public school systems in the District of Columbia, Kingsport; Tennessee; and Columbus, Ohio.

Over the next few days Carstarphen has a busy schedule of visiting schools, speaking at public forums and meeting with students, parents, employees, partners, the community and elected officials.

Superintendent Erroll Davis is set to retire at the end of the school year. He was appointed as superintendent of APS on July 1, 2011 and his contract ends June 30, 2014.

Davis took on the position as the district was rocked by the APS CRCT cheating scandal which resulted in 35 educator indictments including former APS school superintendent Beverly Hall.

The board will officially vote on Carstarphen’s appointment at its April 14th regular meeting.

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