The Atlanta Board of Education has announced a sole finalist in its superintendent search. Lisa Herring, who currently leads the Birmingham City Schools, is expected to replace outgoing Superintendent Meria Carstarphen.
Herring is a native of Macon, Georgia, and a graduate of Spelman College and Georgia Southern University. According to her bio, she has been working in education for 25 years. Her tenure includes serving in private and public schools.
The board decided in September not to vote to extend Carstarphen’s contract. In October, the board began a nationwide search for her replacement.
“Over the last six months, the APS community played a significant role in crafting the leadership profile the Board used to identify potential candidates,” Board Chairman Jason Esteves said in a statement. “We believe with her passion for serving students paired with her focus on equity and achievement for all, Dr. Herring is the best leader to take APS to a new level and close the achievement gap for so many of our students.
In a news release, the board credits Herring with restoring BCS’s accreditation, after the district was placed on probation. The board said the district made significant improvements under Herring’s leadership, with several schools improving their performance on the state’s report card.
The board said Herring is “uniquely qualified” to lead APS through the COVID-19 pandemic because she has an Educational Specialist and Master of Education in School Counseling from the University of South Carolina. She also spent several years as a school counselor and assistant director of student support services in DeKalb County.
“My calling is truly to serve all people regardless of their background or influence, and it would be an honor to serve the people of Atlanta,” Herring said in a statement. “I am a trained counselor who knows to listen and learn in order to better serve the community, so I look forward to hearing your questions and concerns as we seek unique ways to engage together during this time of social distancing.”
State law requires the board to wait at least 14 days between announcing a finalist and voting on her candidacy. That’s to give the community time to weigh in on Herring’s nomination and to ask questions. The board said it may extend that period due to current social distancing restrictions. Currently, community members can submit feedback via email, phone, or through the district’s website: https://www.atlantapublicschools.us/domain/14240.
A note of disclosure: The Atlanta Board of Education holds WABE’s broadcast license.