Meria Joel Carstarphen, Ed.D.
Full Name
Meria Joel Carstarphen, Ed.D.
Job Title
Senior Scientist
Speaker Bio
Meria Joel Carstarphen, Ed.D., has more than twenty years of transformational leadership and management experience, fourteen of which she served in chief executive officer roles, with a focus on America’s capital cities in diverse, urban environments. She has extensive experience setting, achieving and surpassing strategic goals in order to improve dramatically student and organizational outcomes. She is skilled at improving culture, leading collective bargaining and developing strong labor and Board relations. Dr. Carstarphen has a track record of being a passionate, inspirational, creative and compelling thought partner and leader during both crisis and calm and ultimately achieving positive outcomes in complex organizations.

In 2014, Dr. Carstarphen was charged with leading the transformation of APS following the largest cheating scandal in the history of public education. She has worked to restore organizational integrity through transparency, engagement and access, and create a student-focused culture not driven by adult agendas and corruption. Through her leadership, the District has moved away from an over-reliance on high-stakes testing to emphasize equity and whole-student development. During her tenure, APS has seen improvements in the graduation rate, student achievement, staff, parent and alumni engagement and college-going rate.

Dr. Carstarphen earned her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, master of education degrees from Auburn University and Harvard University, and a bachelor of arts in political science and Spanish from Tulane University. She has also studied at the University of Seville, Spain, and University of Innsbruck, Austria. Dr. Carstarphen began her education career as a middle school teacher in her hometown of Selma, Ala, which honored her in 2015 with the inaugural Phoenix Award associated with the Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation. She also has worked with elementary-level children in Seville, Spain, and Caracas, Venezuela.