How will Dr. Meria Carstarphen do as new APS leader?

ATLANTA, Ga. -- After Dr. Meria Carstarphen's appointment as the new Superintendent of the Atlanta Public School system Monday, she had to get back on a plane to Austin, Texas, where she currently holds the same job.

So 11Alive went to our sister station KVUE in Austin to see how she did there.

"I think she's very cool under pressure," said KVUE Anchor Terri Gruca.

Reporting on Dr. Meria Carstarphen for the past 5 years in Austin, Texas, Gruca says Atlanta's new superintendent will get the job done.

"She's one of those people who has to make tough decisions, she puts her nose to the grind," she said.

Under Carstarphen's tenure in Austin, Gruca says graduation rates hit an all-time high. SAT and ACT scores went up -- and she started a new curriculum that measures a student's emotional and social intelligence.

She didn't always rub people the right way though.

Gruca says she proposed cutting 1,000 jobs to close a large budget gap, and tended to work behind closed doors.

"A lot of people want someone who is going to be out in the community and have those tight knit relationships with students, and that's one of the things parents have been disappointed about," said Gruca.

The people in a packed school board meeting Monday night though seemed anxious to get to know Carstarphen, and see how she stacks up.

Bus Driver Quenten Hutchins gave her his own report card.

"I would give her a B, she's coming in with a lot of energy," said Hutchins.

Not everyone was as excited about the appointment.

The Atlanta Federation of Teachers boycotted the school board meeting because they say they were left out of the process to pick the new leader.

And while President Verdaillia Turner won't give Dr. Carstarphen a grade yet, she says the process of selecting her leaves a lot of room for improvement.

"F means failing, what goes below F. If it's a scale of 0-100, I'll give it a negative 5," said Turner.


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