New Atlanta schools superintendent’s mid-year evaluation won’t be public

If you were hoping to hear how new Atlanta schools superintendent Meria Carstarphen is doing so far, you likely won’t hear about it from the Atlanta school board.

Tonight the Atlanta Public Schools board is scheduled to hold Carstarphen’s mid-year evaluation, the board’s first formal look at the district’s progress since she started work this summer. But the entire evaluation will be held behind closed doors, as allowed under state law.

“All content of my evaluation is not public information,” Carstarphen told board members last month.

Under state law, school boards are permitted to keep school superintendent evaluations confidential. Most school boards keep superintendent evaluations secret, although they may be released if both the superintendent and the board agree to do so, according to the Georgia School Boards Association. The Cobb County school board released nearly all parts of its evaluation of former superintendent Michael Hinojosa earlier this year.

Board chairman Courtney English said holding the mid-year evaluation out of public view allows the board to get “an unvarnished sense of where the district is.”

Given that Carstarphen has been on the job for a relatively short time, “We want to make sure that we give her ample time to implement our collective vision for the system,” English said.

Carstarphen will also be evaluated at the end of the school year and the board intends to release information about the results of that evaluation, English said.

“At the end of the year, I think you’ll see a crystal clear picture on where the district is,” he said.

Evaluations for former superintendent Erroll Davis were also conducted behind closed doors, English said. Former superintendent Beverly Hall was evaluated in private session, but some reports on her performance — including whether she earned bonus money — were public.

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