Former APS school chief will join Biden education agency

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Since leaving Atlanta Public Schools this summer as its superintendent, Lisa Herring has added two new jobs to her resume, the latest announced today. Herring will join the U.S. Department of Education as a consultant and strategic advisor to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

“I am delighted to have Dr. Lisa Herring join us at the Department of Education, a leader whose decades of experience as a teacher and administrator will be a tremendous asset to the Biden-Harris team,” said Cardona. “Dr. Herring shares our commitment to accelerating academic recovery in our schools and empowering educators to help students of all backgrounds to find their purpose and fulfill their potential. I look forward to working with her to raise the bar in education for all students.”

Last week, PROPEL, an innovation and learning hub provides HBCU students with workforce development, announced that Herring was its new president.

Hired by Atlanta in the summer of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Herring fell out of favor with the APS school board for unspecified reasons. The board voted in June against extending her contract when it ends in June 2024.

Herring’s abrupt departure echoes that of her predecessor Meria Carstarphen, who also lost the confidence of her school board. Carstarphen joined APS in 2014 and enjoyed several years of harmonious relations with the board before tensions erupted. The national search to replace Carstarphen, who left in 2020, led APS to Herring.

A petition to fire Herring by a group calling itself “Transparency Now” cited a slew of failings, but many relate to the post pandemic challenges facing school districts nationwide. For example, Herring was criticized for an absenteeism rate of 37%, but many systems are experiencing similar rates or higher.

Herring was not the only school chief swept away by likely pandemic headwinds. The DeKalb County School District fired Cheryl Watson-Harris in a split vote in April 2022 after she was on the job for less than two years. Like Herring, Watson-Harris seems to have landed on her feet. Earlier this year, she was named president/executive director of Achieve Atlanta, which helps Atlanta students go to college and earn a degree.