APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. (Photo courtesy Perkins+Will)

The Atlanta Board of Education (ABOE) has voted to approve a contract extension for Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen through June 30, 2020.

Since arriving in Atlanta for the 2014-2015 school year following the test cheating scandal, Carstarphen has faced numerous challenges including low graduation rates, under-enrolled schools and low academic achievement. Closing and merging schools, asking teachers to resign and reapply for their jobs and seeking to have some schools run as charter schools have been some of her more controversial moves.

Under Carstarphen’s tenure, the APS graduation rate has risen 18 percentage points – 59.1 percent (2013-14) to 77 percent (2016-17) – while 56 APS schools showed gains on the state’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) based upon 2016-2017 data. That is two-thirds of the district. On the 2017 Georgia Milestones, 57 schools – or about two thirds of APS schools –achieved gains when averaged across subject areas, 17 more schools than the prior year.

“I am honored by the Board’s vote,” Carstarphen said in a statement. “The Board gave this Administration a clear mandate to continue the work of the district. I have met and/or exceeded every expectation on my performance evaluation for four consecutive years. While we are not perfect, we are moving in the right direction. Now is the time to finish what we started in turnaround so that the next phase of our work focuses on removing all barriers to a high quality experience across the district. I will continue to do everything in my power to give our students the education they deserve and look forward to working with any and all who share in that mission. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the city I’ve always loved and is now my home.”

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.