Accountability chief hired after Atlanta cheating scandal to retire

William Caritj, chief accountability officer for Atlanta Public Schools, will retire at the end of April. Photo courtesy of Atlanta Public Schools
William Caritj, chief accountability officer for Atlanta Public Schools, will retire at the end of April. Photo courtesy of Atlanta Public Schools

Credit: Atlanta Public Schools

Credit: Atlanta Public Schools

A top-level Atlanta Public Schools administrator — hired in the wake of the district’s massive cheating scandal to rebuild trust in testing and data — will soon retire.

William Caritj, chief accountability and information officer, joined APS in 2014. The school system was reeling from an investigation that revealed educators changed students’ answers on standardized tests and received raises and bonuses based on the falsely inflated scores.

Caritj’s charge was to ensure the integrity of testing and data and oversee technology and security for the roughly 50,000-student district in Georgia’s capital city.

“I came here in 2014 when the district was kind of in a low place. People didn’t trust our testing program. They didn’t trust our data. We had a very old infrastructure to our IT systems and networks. And the team has done just a remarkable job in, I think, restoring the faith of the city,” Caritj said during a recent board meeting in which officials announced his retirement.

His last work day will be April 30.

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Seven years ago, Meria Carstarphen was leading the Austin district when the Atlanta board hired her as its superintendent. She recruited Caritj and several others from her Texas team to join her in Atlanta.

His retirement marks the second departure from the cabinet Carstarphen built during her tenure. Former Deputy Superintendent David Jernigan left a year ago, before Lisa Herring took over as superintendent in July.

Under Herring’s leadership, the district’s cabinet has grown by several positions, including two administrators she brought from her former post in Birmingham, Alabama. The new positions include a chief equity and social justice officer as well as a chief of staff. The deputy superintendent’s role was divided between a chief of schools and a chief academic officer.

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The district plans to hire someone to replace Caritj. Until then, his duties will be reassigned among other administrators.

Herring praised Caritj for overseeing the effort to make sure all students have computers to use while learning at home during the pandemic and for his work to renew community trust.

Added board Chairman Jason Esteves: “You have certainly brought the school system a very long way, and we would not be where we are today without you and your leadership.”

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