District looks for new superintendent

Dr.+Meria+Carstarphen+takes+a+stroll+through+campus+visiting+classrooms.+Carstarphen+resigned+to+become+schools+chief++in+Atlanta%2C+Georgia.

David Valladolid

Dr. Meria Carstarphen takes a stroll through campus visiting classrooms. Carstarphen resigned to become schools chief in Atlanta, Georgia.

After five years of leading the Austin Independent school district, Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen decided to take a job as chief of the Atlanta Public Schools.

Dr. Carstarphen has left a huge impact in the lives of parents, students and faculty in the AISD district, according to a statement released by school board president Vincent Torres.

“AISD has made significant progress under Dr. Carstarphen’s leadership during the past five years — from achieving an all-time high graduation rate to maximizing dwindling resources wisely to ensure Austin schools offer all of our students the quality education they deserve to prepare for college, career and life,” Torres said.

Carstarphen has left with a high graduation rate of 82.5 percent, an increase in SAT and ACT scores, improved African American graduation rates by 79.6 and much more, according to district press releases.

“I just hope that every student can say that ‘I am in a school that builds on my strength and accepts me for who I am’ and that ‘I am in a district that wants to see me succeed and will do everything in their power to graduate me and make me successful in life,’” Carstarphen said during a student journalist press conference.

Carstarphen became emotion during the press conference as she spoke about leaving Austin ISD. “I know that there are going to be a lot challenges, but it is important that the community is able to continue to grow,” Carstarphen said.

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I just hope that every student can say that ‘I am in a school that builds on my strength and accepts me for who I am’ and that ‘I am in a district that wants to see me succeed and will do everything in their power to graduate me and make me successful in life.”

— Meria Carstarphen, former Austin ISD Superintendent

Paul Cruz worked along Dr. Carstarphen as Chief of Schools to create an easier transition into Superintendent Interim.

“I definitely don’t think I’m the only person who can lead and help make AISD successful,” Carstarphen said. “So I do know that the district is in a really good place.”

Torres stated that the board has made it imperative that this transition is smooth and doesn’t cause any difficulties within the district.

“We are working day and night to make sure bad things don’t happen,” Carstarphen said. Earlier this month the school board narrowed the list of firms it has considered hiring to search for a replacement to two. The board wants the chosen search firm to start its work in June.

“AISD continues to move in the right direction and will continue to support our schools,” Torres said.

The board could take months even up to a full year to find a permanent replacement, making sure to involve the community in this important decision.

“We thank Dr. Carstarphen, her leadership team and all of our teachers and team members for the achievements and positive progress during the past five years, which made AISD a nationally recognized school district for its commitment to educating the whole child and every child,” Torres said.

For more information about the superintendent search process including links to surveys on desired superintendent characteristics go to the district’s superintendent search web site.