Atlanta Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen Honored with The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation Phoenix Award.

March 9, 2015

 

Atlanta Public Schools’ Superintendent and Selma native Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen

Honored with Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation Award

 

ATLANTA, GA and SELMA, AL– On Sun., March 8, 9:00 am CST at the historic Selma house where Dr. Martin Luther King, Ambassador Andrew Young, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, and the leaders of the Selma movement lived during the 1965 Voting Rights movement, Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen received the inaugural Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation Phoenix Award.

 

The award recognizes an individual who reflects the spirit of the Jackson Family. The award highlights major achievements in civil/human rights and highlights the ongoing struggle to create a peaceful society. Approximately 350 school children from Selma and from the Atlanta public schools system attended the ceremony. Students then participated in events at the city-sponsored 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march.

 

            Foundation CEO Jawana V. Jackson said, “My parents were courageous Americans dedicated to justice for all people.  As a beloved public schoolteacher in Selma for many years, my mother educated a generation of students demanding excellence in all things.  Dr. Carstarphen’s achievements in education reflect both my parents’ commitment to excellence that was nurtured in this home and in our public schools.  The Jackson Foundation is honored and delighted to be presenting this award to Dr. Carstarphen.”

 

            “I am honored to receive this award by the Jackson Family Foundation and Museum,” said Meria J. Carstarphen, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. “Throughout my career, I have worked to help students in public schools have access to world-class education and teachers like Mrs. Richie Jean Jackson, whose life was the open book on how to live your life well and serve others. Dr. and Mrs. Jackson fostered a vision of humanity, excellence, and kindness during a tumultuous and violent time in American history. They modeled what I hope for in our students.”

 

About Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen

Meria Joel Carstarphen, Ed.D, is Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. She brings to Atlanta an impressive record in transformative educational leadership that has led to significant student performance gains. Dr. Carstarphen has nearly 20 years of education and experience in diverse, major metropolitan public school districts, including Austin, Texas; Saint Paul, Minn.; and the District of Columbia. She leads and provides oversight to the district’s 50,000 students; 5,500 employees; and 106 learning sites with a $794 million annual budget.

Before coming to Atlanta, Dr. Carstarphen was Superintendent of the Austin Independent School District from 2009 to 2014. With a great team, she made extraordinary achievements in academic excellence that included improved graduation rates that reached an all-time high of 84 percent and reduced dropout rates by 25 percent. She credits the success in Austin, in part, to efforts to move away from a culture driven by a dependency on high-stakes testing to one that emphasizes the whole child, every child; social and emotional learning; equal arts-rich environments; alternative pathways to graduation; and alternative education disciplinary program reform.

Prior to Austin, Dr. Carstarphen was Superintendent of the Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota and held accountability positions with other public schools systems.

Dr. Carstarphen began her education career as a middle school teacher in her hometown of Selma, Ala. She also has worked with elementary-level children in Seville, Spain and Caracas, Venezuela.

Dr. Carstarphen earned a doctorate in administration, planning and social policy, with a concentration in urban superintendency from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She earned a bachelor of arts in political science and Spanish from Tulane University and master of education degrees from Auburn University and Harvard University. She has also studied at the University of Seville, Spain, and University of Innsbruck, Austria.

The Atlanta Board of Education voted unanimously to hire Dr. Carstarphen in April 2014. She became Superintendent July 2014. Dr. Carstarphen is passionate about leading Atlanta Public Schools and living its mission every day: Through a caring culture of trust and collaboration, every student will be ready for college and career.

About The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum

The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum, Inc. is a non-profit organization created by their daughter Jawana V. Jackson to preserve her family’s legacy and commitment to peace and justice in a civil society. The home served as the residential headquarters for world leaders in the planning of the Selma-to-Montgomery March.  This historic march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. persuaded President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act in August of 1965.

 

Dr. Sullivan Jackson, a local dentist, and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson, an educator, devoted their lives to helping others through service to the Selma community and education.  Their contributions to Selma, Alabama the nation and the world are captured in the home they lived in for almost 50 years.  Sullivan Jackson, a native of Alabama was raised in Anderson, Indiana, earned an undergraduate degree from West Virginia State University and dental degree from Meharry Medical College.  Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson was born in Mobile Alabama and graduated from Cardozo High School in Washington, DC, earned an undergraduate degree from Alabama State University and masters degree from Montevallo University.  To this union was born their only child, Jawana V. Jackson.  Sullivan Jackson passed in 2004 and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson’s death occurred in 2013.

 

In the late 1950’s a young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King became friends with Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson.  This friendship led Dr. King to ask the Jacksons if he could stay in their home while planning The Selma to Montgomery March.  The rest is history.  For several months this home in Selma became the gathering place and residence for many world leaders in the struggle for democracy and voting rights in America.  It is also the only private home in America that housed for several days the first two African American Noel Peace Prize recipients: Dr. Ralph Bunche and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as they met to plan what would become a historic march.

 

About the Book

 These events are chronicled in the 2011 book written by Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson- The House by the Side of the Road The Selma Civil Rights Movement, published by The University of Alabama Press and available where books are sold.

 

About The Jackson Home

 The home was built in 1912 by noted Selma educator and businessman Dr. Richard B. Hudson as a wedding present for his daughter Leola and has been in the family of Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson since that time.  The home is also the only residence in America to have housed three African American dentist and their families consecutively from 1912 until 2013. Today it is listed on The National Historical Register, National Park Service Selma to Montgomery Trail and Alabama Register of History and Landmarks.

 

The residence also features the Juanita Richardson Sherrod Solitude Art Collection, a body of original oil paintings done by Selma artist Juanita Richardson Sherrod, the mother of Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson.  Mrs. Sherrod became an artist at the age of 70 (after a 40 year career in education) and continued painting the remainder of her life until her death in 2008 at the age of 103.

 

For more information on The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum, Inc. please visit www.jacksonfoundationandmuseum.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thejacksonfoundation.

Atlanta Public Schools’ Superintendent and Selma native Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen

Honored with Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation Award

 

ATLANTA, GA and SELMA, AL– On Sun., March 8, 9:00 am CST at the historic Selma house where Dr. Martin Luther King, Ambassador Andrew Young, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, and the leaders of the Selma movement lived during the 1965 Voting Rights movement, Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen received the inaugural Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation Phoenix Award.

 

The award recognizes an individual who reflects the spirit of the Jackson Family. The award highlights major achievements in civil/human rights and highlights the ongoing struggle to create a peaceful society. Approximately 350 school children from Selma and from the Atlanta public schools system attended the ceremony. Students then participated in events at the city-sponsored 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march.

 

            Foundation CEO Jawana V. Jackson said, “My parents were courageous Americans dedicated to justice for all people.  As a beloved public schoolteacher in Selma for many years, my mother educated a generation of students demanding excellence in all things.  Dr. Carstarphen’s achievements in education reflect both my parents’ commitment to excellence that was nurtured in this home and in our public schools.  The Jackson Foundation is honored and delighted to be presenting this award to Dr. Carstarphen.”

 

            “I am honored to receive this award by the Jackson Family Foundation and Museum,” said Meria J. Carstarphen, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. “Throughout my career, I have worked to help students in public schools have access to world-class education and teachers like Mrs. Richie Jean Jackson, whose life was the open book on how to live your life well and serve others. Dr. and Mrs. Jackson fostered a vision of humanity, excellence, and kindness during a tumultuous and violent time in American history. They modeled what I hope for in our students.”

 

About Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen

Meria Joel Carstarphen, Ed.D, is Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. She brings to Atlanta an impressive record in transformative educational leadership that has led to significant student performance gains. Dr. Carstarphen has nearly 20 years of education and experience in diverse, major metropolitan public school districts, including Austin, Texas; Saint Paul, Minn.; and the District of Columbia. She leads and provides oversight to the district’s 50,000 students; 5,500 employees; and 106 learning sites with a $794 million annual budget.

Before coming to Atlanta, Dr. Carstarphen was Superintendent of the Austin Independent School District from 2009 to 2014. With a great team, she made extraordinary achievements in academic excellence that included improved graduation rates that reached an all-time high of 84 percent and reduced dropout rates by 25 percent. She credits the success in Austin, in part, to efforts to move away from a culture driven by a dependency on high-stakes testing to one that emphasizes the whole child, every child; social and emotional learning; equal arts-rich environments; alternative pathways to graduation; and alternative education disciplinary program reform.

Prior to Austin, Dr. Carstarphen was Superintendent of the Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota and held accountability positions with other public schools systems.

Dr. Carstarphen began her education career as a middle school teacher in her hometown of Selma, Ala. She also has worked with elementary-level children in Seville, Spain and Caracas, Venezuela.

Dr. Carstarphen earned a doctorate in administration, planning and social policy, with a concentration in urban superintendency from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She earned a bachelor of arts in political science and Spanish from Tulane University and master of education degrees from Auburn University and Harvard University. She has also studied at the University of Seville, Spain, and University of Innsbruck, Austria.

The Atlanta Board of Education voted unanimously to hire Dr. Carstarphen in April 2014. She became Superintendent July 2014. Dr. Carstarphen is passionate about leading Atlanta Public Schools and living its mission every day: Through a caring culture of trust and collaboration, every student will be ready for college and career.

About The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum

The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum, Inc. is a non-profit organization created by their daughter Jawana V. Jackson to preserve her family’s legacy and commitment to peace and justice in a civil society. The home served as the residential headquarters for world leaders in the planning of the Selma-to-Montgomery March.  This historic march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. persuaded President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act in August of 1965.

 

Dr. Sullivan Jackson, a local dentist, and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson, an educator, devoted their lives to helping others through service to the Selma community and education.  Their contributions to Selma, Alabama the nation and the world are captured in the home they lived in for almost 50 years.  Sullivan Jackson, a native of Alabama was raised in Anderson, Indiana, earned an undergraduate degree from West Virginia State University and dental degree from Meharry Medical College.  Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson was born in Mobile Alabama and graduated from Cardozo High School in Washington, DC, earned an undergraduate degree from Alabama State University and masters degree from Montevallo University.  To this union was born their only child, Jawana V. Jackson.  Sullivan Jackson passed in 2004 and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson’s death occurred in 2013.

 

In the late 1950’s a young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King became friends with Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson.  This friendship led Dr. King to ask the Jacksons if he could stay in their home while planning The Selma to Montgomery March.  The rest is history.  For several months this home in Selma became the gathering place and residence for many world leaders in the struggle for democracy and voting rights in America.  It is also the only private home in America that housed for several days the first two African American Noel Peace Prize recipients: Dr. Ralph Bunche and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as they met to plan what would become a historic march.

 

About the Book

 These events are chronicled in the 2011 book written by Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson- The House by the Side of the Road The Selma Civil Rights Movement, published by The University of Alabama Press and available where books are sold.

 

About The Jackson Home

 The home was built in 1912 by noted Selma educator and businessman Dr. Richard B. Hudson as a wedding present for his daughter Leola and has been in the family of Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson since that time.  The home is also the only residence in America to have housed three African American dentist and their families consecutively from 1912 until 2013. Today it is listed on The National Historical Register, National Park Service Selma to Montgomery Trail and Alabama Register of History and Landmarks.

 

The residence also features the Juanita Richardson Sherrod Solitude Art Collection, a body of original oil paintings done by Selma artist Juanita Richardson Sherrod, the mother of Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson.  Mrs. Sherrod became an artist at the age of 70 (after a 40 year career in education) and continued painting the remainder of her life until her death in 2008 at the age of 103.

 

For more information on The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum, Inc. please visit www.jacksonfoundationandmuseum.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thejacksonfoundation.

 

 

Event and Jackson Family Media Contact:

Mark A. Peterson

Executive Secretary                                                                

Jackson Foundation and Museum, Inc.

(404) 915-0048       

 

                       

                      

 

 

                                           

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