Former St. Paul Superintendent Carstarphen in line for Atlanta schools’ top job

Maria Carstarphen, who was St. Paul superintendent of schools for about three years before leaving in 2009 to take the top job in the Austin, Texas, school system, is in line to become Atlanta’s new superintendent.

She’s the only finalist in Atlanta; final approval by the school board is expected soon.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says she’s seen as a offering a fresh start in the school district, which faced a cheating scandal in 2011 and has been searching for a new superintendent for a year.

She’ll join a school board where six of the nine members are newly elected.

She told the Atlanta paper: “I’m not naive about what it takes to turn around a school or a school district. It will take some heavy lifting.”

Carstarphen was hired in St. Paul in 2006 after serving as chief accountability officer for the public schools in Washington, D.C. She went to Austin, which has about 86,000 students, about twice the number of students as St.Paul. The Atlanta schools have about 47,000 students.

Atlanta School Board Chairman Courtney English said about Carstarphen: “She has a proven track record of delivering transformative results for children. This city could use some unity. She’s the right leader at the right time.”

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