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AUG. 22 — SEPT. 4, 2014 • VOL. 8 — NO. 17

Loud for the Lions

PAGES 9-15

‘We are all APS’ New superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s vision for Atlanta’s schools BY COLLIN KELLEY

PHIL MOSIER

From left, Caki Staton, Mary Cate Kirbo and Lizzie Fleetwood cheer on The Lovett School football Lions at a scrimmage against North Atlanta High School on Aug. 15. See a special high school football section on pages 20-23.

Appeals board backs plans for church rectory BY PAT FOX Residents of a Buckhead neighborhood are weighing their options after the Atlanta Board of Zoning Adjustments denied their request to rescind permits that allow the Archdiocese of Atlanta to convert a home into a rectory. The board voted unanimously Thursday to let the permits stand, clearing the way for the Archdiocese to use the house at 136 W. Wesley Drive as a residence for six priests. Christ the King church plans to spend up to

$1 million to build a 2,978-square-foot, twostory dormitory with four bedroom suites in the location of the current garage on the property. A substantial renovation to the existing single family home will include an additional three bedrooms, an expansive kitchen, two eating areas, a chapel, a large priests’ den, complete with full bar, and a library. The house has been used for decades as the residence for the archbishop.

Atlanta Public Schools’ new superintendent, Dr. Meria Carstarphen, arrived at last month’s Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting early to introduce herself individually to each member of the audience. “Hi, I’m Meria,” she said, extending her hand and offering an easy smile to parents and community members. She’s probably already tired of being called a “breath of fresh air,” but Carstarphen’s combination of friendliness and frankness is a refreshing change of tone and demeanor after years of the old guard that aided in ruining APS’s reputation after the cheating scandal still playing out in court. As the new and very public face of APS, Carstarphen knows she has a mountain to climb in restoring faith in the school system. Her turnaround of the Austin, Texas, school district – in attendance numbers, innovative programs, graduation rates – has given Carstarphen the surely unwanted moniker of “savior” of APS. But the Selma, Ala. native has been lauded for her track “We wanted to open record in Austin, St. Paul, this school year with Minn. and Washington, more cohesiveness D.C., while also gaining a reputation – if you beand less craziness.” lieve all the press accounts – for her demanding and – MERIA CARSTARPHEN sometimes confrontational style of leadership. APS SUPERINTENDENT “Austin was gracious enough to understand the challenges facing APS and let me come out early,” Carstarphen said about her arrival this past spring in Atlanta. Although she didn’t officially begin work until July, Carstarphen was given full access to APS, had meetings with outgoing Interim Superintendent Erroll Davis, attended a retreat with the Atlanta School Board, zeroed in on the district’s most pressing issues, and also started pressing the flesh by showing up at schools and meetings around the city. Before opening day on Aug. 4, Carstarphen was also dealing with transportation, hiring, vendors, safety, securiSEE WE ARE, PAGE 26

SEE APPEALS, PAGE 7

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08-22-2014 Buckhead Reporter  
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