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The Atlanta Story Podcast

The Atlanta Story Podcast – DR. MERIA CARSTARPHEN

The Atlanta Story podcast features meaningful stories of Atlanta’s builders, creators, and entrepreneurs. In this episode Jon Birdsong sits down with Dr. Meria Carstarphen, Former Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.

Born in Selma, educated at Tulane, Auburn, and Harvard, Meria took the helm of APS starting in 2014 to 2020. During her tenure, she saw graduation rates improve to 80%, transformed a damaged culture infected by the infamous cheating scandal, and made a generational impact for students of Atlanta. On the show, Meria shares leadership tactics used to change culture, her ideas to improve education today, what’s next for her educational journey, and much more.

The Atlanta Story is put together by the folks at Atlanta Ventures — and we can’t wait to share some of the personalities behind the brand. Atlanta Ventures invests in entrepreneurs through community, content, and capital — most notably through our Studio with companies like Greenzie and Intown Golf Club. We believe the best entrepreneurs learn from other great artists in different fields.

“When I started in Atlanta, we had a graduation rate of 59%, and when I ended, we were a little over 80%”

 Dr. Meria Carstarphen, Former Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools

In this episode, we discuss…

  1. Born and raised in Selma, what experiences led Meria to be a public servant? (1:17)
  2. What were the things Meria took from DC, St. Paul, and Austin that she brought to Atlanta? (8:04)
  3. What was Meria’s reaction when she got the call in 2014 saying there was a job opening in Atlanta? (14:06)
  4. What was the public sentiment of Atlanta when Meria became superintendent? (20:32)
  5. When Meria got to Atlanta, which areas of the schooling system did she prioritize? (21:28)
  6. At what point did Meria first see progress? (27:01)
  7. What would 2020 Meria tell 2014 Meria? (34:29)
  8. How did Meria plan, and how did that help set them up for success? (40:18)
  9. What is the documentary that Meria’s been working on about? (51:53)
  10. When will Meria’s documentary, Defining Us, be available to listeners? (1:00:42)
  11. What is Meria’s next chapter? (1:01:56)
  12. Why Atlanta, and what has Atlanta done for Meria? (1:04:49)
Meria Carstarphen
Meria Carstarphen and John Lewis
Meria Carstarphen, United Way of Greater Atlanta AAP, and Chris Bosch

Resources discussed in this episode:

Atlanta Volunteer Legal Fund

Selma Times Journal – Meria Carstarphen

Defining Us – Documentary coming out

How you can get involved: 

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