2017 Woman Making a Mark

There is something unexpected about Dr. Meria Carstarphen, the forty-seven-year-old superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.

Maybe it’s that she’s a hugger (“you should have seen my dad at church,” she says), or that, instead of a suit, she shows up to her interview wearing a red-and-white baseball tee that reads, “Superintendent I Am.” Or perhaps it’s her nearly tangible sense of optimism.

Carstarphen joined Atlanta Public Schools in 2014, after a cheating scandal purged schools of many teachers and administrators.