Read departing APS superintendent’s end-of-year letter to employees

In an end-of-year letter that also marks the end of her leadership, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen thanked employees for their “heart” and work over the last six years.

Carstarphen's contract expires June 30, and the school board has hired the Birmingham, Alabama school system superintendent to take over on July 1.

Carstarphen became superintendent in 2014 as APS tried to rebuild after a massive cheating scandal.

She recounted the district’s progress since then in a May 27 letter to more than 6,000 employees. The district posted the memo on its website last week.

“As we close the school year today, I have also been facing the sad realization that our work together in Atlanta Public Schools is also coming to an end. When I joined the district six years ago, I pledged that together we would change a district once embroiled with adult-oriented agendas to one embracing child-focused ones,” she wrote.

Read Carstarphen’s letter to APS employees: 

She credited employees for changing the culture of APS, saying teachers and staff are more engaged and energized. She reviewed the district’s work to build new schools, increase private donations and improve graduation rates.

“As a superintendent, I have never been more energized, more driven, and more focused in my own vocation in public education as I have been working with you in Atlanta Public Schools,” she wrote. “With so much work focused toward this pandemic to get virtual learning and the end of the year as right as possible, I have tried not to think too much about not working in my beloved Atlanta Public Schools. I can tell you that I am grateful and humbled for having worked alongside such caring and dedicated people like yourself in service to our students. Thank you for your heart and for continuing your work to ensure every child has choices in college, career, and life.”

Carstarphen will receive a final annual evaluation from the school board. Last week, she told the board's accountability commission, which works with her to set yearly goals, that she plans to include a progress update in the materials for the board's regular June 1 meeting.