Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen delivers her State of the District address in a non-traditional way while dancing and performing with students during the annual State of the District address event at the newly built Walden Sports Complex on Friday, October 5, 2018. The annual State of the District address has transformed from a straight-forward podium presentation into the premiere opportunity for Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen to publicly report on the work of the district to achieve our mission to ensure all students graduate ready for college and career. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Atlanta superintendent to give final ‘state of the district’ address

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen will deliver her final State of the District address next month.

The annual event provides an update on the district’s activity and student achievement. Carstarphen has ushered in a unique twist on what previously had been a fairly staid event. Under Carstarphen, the events transformed into a high-energy occasion with thematic costumes and music and dance performances by students. She’s also chosen to hold the events at unconventional sites around the district, from an empty swimming pool to a construction site.

The 2019 State of the District will start at 10 a.m. Nov. 7 at Harper-Archer Elementary School, 3399 Collier Dr. NW. The school underwent a major renovation and reopened as a new elementary school this year.

This year’s event will be the final address for Carstarphen, hired by APS in 2014. The school board announced last month that it would not extend her contract when it expires June 30. The board has begun a search for a new superintendent, whom it hopes to have on the job by July 1. 

The five board members who opposed extending her contract cited a variety of reasons, ranging from a desire for more financial and academic accountability to the need to find a new chief to lead the district in its next strategic plan. 

In 2017, the district held the State of the District event in the empty swimming pool at Hollis Innovation Academy. Last year, Carstarphen donned a leather jacket and took to an outdoor stage at the Walden Athletic Complex for a rock ’n’ roll themed address. 

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