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Paul Cruz to Lead Austin Schools As Interim Superintendent

Image courtesy AISD:
AISD's chief schools officer Paul Cruz is expected to be named interim superintendent Tuesday.

Update: KUT has learned from multiple sources that AISD Chief School Paul Cruz is expected to be named interim superintendent at Tuesday's school board meeting.

This comes one day after Superintendent Meria Carstarphen was unanimously approved to lead Atlanta Public Schools district Monday.

Cruz receives high marks from Drew Scheberle, the vice president of education for theGreater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

"He's a very good man," Scheberle said. "Very approachable. Very friendly. Strong sense of family. He's been in Austin for a long time. He understands the community."

The selection of Cruz is also supported by the largest teachers association in Austin ISD. Education Austinpresident Ken Zarifis says Cruz has proven himself to be a skilled administrator.

"But he also understands people," Zarifis said. "He's got a lot to offer in the interim position, so we're really excited about that."

Original Story(3:15 p.m.): The Atlanta Public Schools Board has unanimously approved Austin Superintendent Meria Carstarphen to lead the public school system in Georgia's capital city. 

Atlanta Public Schools announced Carstarphen, who has run the Austin school district since 2009, as the lone finalist last month. She was chosen out of four superintendent candidates by the Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Search Committee.

Carstarphen is praised for raising graduation rates in Austin and expanding dual language programs. However, she faced criticism from parents and community leaders when she proposed some school closures as part of a Facility Master Plan and caused friction when she implemented an in-district charter with IDEA Pubic Schools without community support.

Last year, she faced additional criticism when voters failed to approve two of AISD's four bond proposals.

In a statement released Monday, Carstarphen says the school district is on a solid path:

I would like to thank AISD-all of our students, families, teachers, principals and team members-the district's trustees and the Austin community for your support during the past five years. No superintendent does this work alone, and I have been fortunate to work with you toward a common goal--providing a quality education for every student and a supportive environment for our dedicated AISD staff.   AISD is on a solid path. Together, we have ensured the district has built strong momentum and support for the expansion of social and emotional learning to every school, realized a dramatic decrease in disciplinary referrals for African-American and special education students, and achieved an all-time high graduation rate of 82.5 percent. I am proud of the progressAISD has made during my tenure, and confident that it will continue in the years ahead. As a daughter of the Deep South, I look forward to joining the Atlanta community and helping to rebuild Atlanta Public Schools. But, I will miss Austin. When you love something, it is hard to let go. I love AISD and Austin. It has been a true honor to serve with an amazing team as Austin's superintendent.


The Austin School Board is holding a special meeting Tuesday night to name an interim superintendent.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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