New Atlanta school superintendent talks about her vision - CBS46 News

New Atlanta school superintendent talks about her vision

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Atlanta's new school superintendent is in town this week to meet with administrators, parents, students and the media to spell out her vision for the district.

"The most important thing at this point in the school year is to make sure that all of our schools are staffed and ready to go for the next school year," said Meria Carstarphen during the morning show on V-103 radio Tuesday morning.

Carstarphen told CBS46 her work in Austin, TX, where she previously served as superintendent is now complete and she is transitioning to her position in Atlanta. 

Staffing will be a key concern as some two dozen principals have been reassigned or resigned in the past several months.

"Morale is fair enough, it may be low but the people I've met seem re-energized," said Carstarphen in a one-on-one interview after the radio show. "They want to have a voice. They want to be able to sit down with me and talk to me, and these are things that I welcome." 

The Atlanta School District has faced a number of problems in recent years, including poor test scores, the worst cheating scandal in the nation's history and money shortages.

"Every day is still a hard day when you're trying to lead a system like this," said Carstarphen, who is well aware of the challenges she faces. "So it's part of the job.  It's part of the context but it's not insurmountable."

Media reports from Austin indicate Carstarphen's final time with the district there was contentious. Her critics allege she was controlling and withheld information from school board members.

"I welcome anyone to look into that, but I know for a fact that we were open and transparent and really did a great job in Austin," said Carstarphen. "I didn't do it alone. I did it with a team, and we all worked hard to do that. " 

The new superintendent said she recently had a key meeting with outgoing Superintendent Erroll Davis.

"It was kind of drinking from the fire hose, trying to take it all in and then start organizing it in smaller bits and pieces so that we can kind of get our priorities organized and get moving soon as possible."

Carstarphen said she has completed her work in Austin and is now focusing on transitioning to take over the Atlanta School District. Her contract officially begins on July 7.

 "Every decision that we're making, everything that we're doing, we're trying to set up students for success," she said.

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