Meria Carstarphen, Ed.D.


Atlanta Public Schools

Meria Joel Carstarphen, Ed.D., is the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools (APS) where she leads the district’s nearly 52,000 students, 6,000 full-time employees and 87 schools and oversees the system’s $1 billion annual budget. Prior to serving in Atlanta, she was superintendent in diverse, major metropolitan public school districts, including Austin, Texas, and Saint Paul, Minnesota.
During her tenure, the district’s graduation rate has increased by 20.8 percentage points from 59.1 percent in 2014 to 79.9 percent in 2018, which is the highest graduation rate the district has achieved since the state aligned with the national standard in 2012.
Dr. Carstarphen earned her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, master of education degrees from Auburn University and Harvard University, and a bachelor of arts in political science and Spanish from Tulane University, which honored her with its Outstanding Alumna Award in 2018. She has also studied at the University of Seville, Spain, and University of Innsbruck, Austria. Dr. Carstarphen began her education career as a middle school teacher in her hometown of Selma, Ala. She also has worked with elementary-level children in Seville, Spain, and Caracas, Venezuela.