ATLANTA – Atlanta Board of Education Chair Courtney D. English and Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Search Committee Chair Ann Cramer (SSC) have announced

Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen as the sole finalist for superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.

Austin Independent School District’s Meria Carstarphen is the Board of Education’s sole finalist for the position of superintendent. Her district serves 85,000 students with over 12,000 employees.

Dr. Carstarphen was selected from a list of four candidates by the Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Search Committee. The board made the announcement today during a news conference held at Hope-Hill Elementary School. Carstarphen will replace Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr., who was appointed as superintendent of APS on July 1, 2011. His contract ends June 30, 2014.

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.”

Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen has nearly 20 years of successful experience in public education. She is currently superintendent of the Austin Independent School District, which she joined in 2009, as its first African American and first female superintendent.

Under Carstarphen’s leadership, the Austin Independent School District realized a number of achievements including but not limited to:

  •      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.

Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen has managed an urban school district with an annual budget of $950 million; 12,000 employees; and 87,000 pre-K-12 students in 123 schools. She previously served as the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota, and in accountability positions for public school systems in the District of Columbia, Kingsport; Tennessee; and Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen’s professional experience includes teaching at the middle school level, as well as elementary education in Seville, Spain, and Caracas, Venezuela.

Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen earned a doctorate in administration, planning and social policy with a concentration in urban

Carstarphen will be available to meet parents and community members Saturday, March 29 at six APS high school campuses.

superintendency from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from Tulane University and Master of Education degrees from Auburn University and Harvard University. She has also studied at the University of Seville, Spain, and University of Innsbruck, Austria. A public school graduate, Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen hails from Selma, Alabama, where she began her teaching career.

The Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Search Committee was chaired by Ann Cramer, retired director for IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs for the Americas.  Search consultants leading the charge include BoardWalk Consulting and Diversified Search. “We’re confident that she will be able to restore trust, leverage her proven track record of improving student scores, and manage the sensitivities of our diverse district,” added Ms. Cramer.  “She holds the promise of achieving sustainable advances for our entire student community.”

A number of leaders are encouraged by the new leadership in Atlanta.

“I believe we have found a proven, visionary leader in Dr. Carstarphen who has consistently produced verifiable, concrete results,” Mayor Kasim Reed said today. “I will do everything in my power to support her in our collective efforts to make the Atlanta Public Schools system the best in the nation. Our children, and our city, deserve nothing less.”

The Atlanta Board of Education will vote on Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen during the April 14, 2014, board meeting.

“Congratulations to the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Public Schools on the selection of Meria Carstarphen as its school superintendent. Carstarphen is one of the nation’s most effective, seasoned, and proven educational leaders. She is the right person at the right time to move the school system forward,” said Council of the Great City Schools Executive Director Michael Casserly.

The Atlanta Board of Education will vote on Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen during the April 14, 2014, board meeting.  Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen will be in Atlanta Thursday, March 27 through Saturday March 29, and will return April 1, to participate in school tours and community open houses in all four regions at the times and locations outlined below.

Fri., March 28th
  •      4 – 7 p.m. Reception for APS Teachers & Staff at CLL Building


Sat., March 29th  Community Open House:

  •      9 – 10:00 a.m.         Washington High School
  •      10:30 – 11:30 a.m.   North Atlanta High School
  •      12:00 – 1:00 p.m.     Grady High School
  •      1:30 – 2:30 p.m.       Jackson High School
  •      3:00 – 4:00 p.m.       South Atlanta
  •      4:30 – 5:30 p.m.       Mays High School





Add yours

  1. Hopefully the Board has more sense this time than to include the provision in her contract that forces taxpayers to pay her legal bills especially after her contract ends.

  2. Yayyyyy to Dr Carstarphen!!! Me and my cousins and sibling had the pleasure of knowing her and being a part of her selfless efforts of spreading and wanting a quality education for any and all children she came in contact with!!!! Atlanta…. You definently have a great—Plus outstanding leader!!! I and others from Selma are fortunate enough to have come in contact—and undeniably grateful to have experienced her as a Teacher…. Friend….Confidant…. And L.E.A.D.E.R!!!! You have selected a Gem!!!! Great success to Atlanta Public Schools, and each of it’s parents and teachers!!!!

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