APS superintendent finalist meets parents in open houses

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ATLANTA —

Parents are meeting the woman who could take over Atlanta Public Schools. The superintendent finalist hosted several open houses Saturday.
 
Meria Carstarphen, the solo finalist for the superintendent's job, visited six high schools for community open houses.
 
Carstarphen told Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach she promises to be accessible and visible to students and parents.
 
Carstarphen started her tour of Atlanta’s schools and meetings with the community at Booker T. Washington High School.
 
The parent of one middle school student and two elementary students in APS wanted to know how parents could be more involved in the schools.
 
"I want to know some of her ideas. She’s going to have more parents to be involved in their kids school and education,” parent Liema Render said.
 
Carstarphen is the current superintendent in Austin, Texas.
 
During the open houses she talked about boosting graduation rates.
 
"And we want to be sure we're just not graduating them, but actually have to teach them the skills,” Carstarphen said.
 
Carstarphen also addressed the challenge of rebuilding trust after the APS cheating scandal and promises more accountability.
 
"Being thoughtful about how the community will do the checks and balances on whether or not we are developing trust,” Carstarphen said.
 
Joshua Willis, a current junior at the high school, said he has high hopes for the district's new leader.
 
"She takes the things that we said and put them into place,” Willis said.
 
After the meetings Saturday, Carstarphen said she hopes everyone comes away with more than answers to their questions.
 
"They walk away with a better sense of who I am and a wiliness to come back to the table when the work gets tough to help us figure out solutions for our students and support for our staff,” Carstarphen said.
 
Carstarphen told Gelbach it's starting to sink in and after these town halls she has a better understanding of the hard work it will take once she takes over.
 
The school board will make the hire official with a vote at their meeting April 14.