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New Superintendent Selected for Atlanta Schools

Meria Carstarphen, who has been schools superintendent in Austin, Texas, was tapped by the Atlanta school board to lead its school system, which is still dealing with the fallout of a massive cheating scandal.

Carstarphen, who's been at the helm in Austin for five years, has also been superintendent in St. Paul, Minn., and was the chief accountability officer in the District of Columbia public schools. She is a native of Selma, Ala., where she began her education career as a teacher.

The Atlanta board of education announced their pick yesterday after a yearlong national search and will formally vote to approve her hiring in mid-April. Carstarphen will replace Erroll Davis, who has been Atlanta's schools chief for almost three years.

The 47,000-student Atlanta district has been embroiled for several years in a cheating scandal that last year led to the indictment of 35 educators, including retired Superintendent Beverly Hall. 

Hall and 12 other educators are due to stand trial in early May on charges that they conspired to make student performance in Atlanta look better than it was. Hall is accused of pressuring principals and teachers to cheat on state exams and for retaliating against whistleblowers who tried to expose it. Most of the other educators who were indicted have since pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for their cooperation against Hall and others who have pleaded innocent.

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