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John J. Witmeyer III Dean’s Colloquium 2014

Meria Carstarphen ‘92

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 3:30 p.m. Cudd Hall lobby Reception to follow

Meria Joel CarstarphenMeria Joel Carstarphen, Ed.D., is the newly-appointed superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, bringing an impressive record in transformative educational leadership that has led to significant student performance gains. She leads and provides oversight to the district's 50,000 students, 7,000 employees, and 123 learning sites with an $850 million budget.

With nearly 20 years of experience in education, Carstarphen previously served as the first woman and first African-American superintendent of the Austin Independent School District from 2009 to 2014. While there, she and her leadership team made extraordinary achievements in academic excellence that included improved graduation rates that reached an all-time high of 82.5 percent, and a reduced longitudinal dropout rate by 25 percent. She credits the success in Austin, in part, to efforts to move away from a culture driven by a dependency on high-stakes testing to one that emphasizes the whole child, every child; social and emotional learning; equal arts-rich environments; alternative pathways to graduation; and disciplinary program reform.

Prior to Austin, Carstarphen was superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota, and held chief accountability positions for public school systems in Kingsport, Tennessee; Columbus, Ohio; and in Washington D.C., where she was the chief accountability officer of public schools. She was also an elementary school teacher in Seville, Spain, and Caracas, Venezuela.

She earned a doctorate in administration, planning, and social policy, with a concentration in urban superintendency from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Carstarphen earned a bachelor of arts degree 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, Carstarphen hails from Selma, Alabama, where she began her teaching career.

This event is part of the John J. Witmeyer III Dean's Colloquium series, which invites distinguished alumni back to campus to discuss their careers and professions. Sponsored by the Newcomb-Tulane College Office of Cocurricular Programs.