The Atlanta school board will begin the search for a new superintendent by holding four community meetings to gather input from the public. AJC file photo Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com
Photo: Bita Honarvar
Photo: Bita Honarvar

Atlanta superintendent search to start with 4 community meetings

The Atlanta school board will start its search for a new superintendent with four community meetings designed to get feedback about the traits and skills the district’s next leader should have.

The board agreed on Monday to spend up to $25,000 to hire a facilitator to help run the meetings. The sessions are one of the first steps the board will take in its search after announcing Sept. 9 that it would not extend Superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s contract. Her contract expires June 30.

The board also agreed to a timeline it hopes to follow for the search. The community meetings will take place this month, along with work to develop an application for candidates and potential interview and reference-check questions. The board also plans to look for a search firm to assist with the process.

The four community meetings all will start at 6 p.m. They will be on Oct. 22 at Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy, Oct. 24 at Gideons Elementary School, Oct. 28 at Bolton Academy, and Oct. 30 at Benteen Elementary School.

The board vote authorized school board Chairman Jason Esteves to hire a facilitator to run those meetings and to start looking for search firms.

Esteves said that authorization will allow the search process to continue without requiring the board to hold another meeting to approve those items. He said the board will interview and select the search firm and develop an application and superintendent profile publicly.

Board member Nancy Meister cast the sole vote against the search actions.

“I think that’s sad that we all can’t be involved in that, even if it requires additional meetings because this is one of the biggest decisions that we make,” said Meister, who was one of three board members who supported extending Carstarphen’s contract.

In December, the board intends to advertise the job opening and begin recruiting candidates. Candidates will be reviewed in January, with interviews and background checks completed during the winter and spring.

The board aims to announce a sole finalist in May, after which by law it must wait 14 days before it votes to hire the person. The new superintendent would start July 1.

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