Return to Headlines

Dr. Angelina Walker

Ever since she was 2 years old and lining up her dolls to learn, Angelina Walker knew she wanted to be an educator. And growing up in Denver’s Far Northeast corridor, in neighborhoods struggling with gangs and violence, she saw firsthand the importance of education and its impact on the community. Today, as the principal at John H. Amesse Elementary in the Montbello neighborhood, Dr. Walker is able to pair her passion for education with her drive to create systemic change, while leading a school she’s built firmly on equity.

“I love my students, and I love my families and community,” Angelina said. “Social justice and equity, those are my driving passions, and being able to impact change on system level. Being able to fully embody equity into a school system has been a beautiful thing.”

Angelina’s career with DPS began when she was still a teenager, starting as a paraprofessional at Lena Archuleta Elementary in the Far Northeast. Later, she became a teacher at West Leadership Academy, then was an assistant principal before becoming principal of John H. Amesse in Montbello. 

While Angelina admits she never aspired to be a principal, she knew she had to step outside of the classroom to change the system. 

“I love challenging myself to make things better for all people in that building,” she said. “I love learning and trying to figure out how to best teach our kids and support our teachers.” 

Along the way, Angelina has found support both within her school building as well as in the greater DPS community. She joined the African American Equity Task Force and found new opportunities to collaborate, and DPS’ Culture Equity and Leadership team supported with equity and leadership resources and trainings.

She continues to find ways to wrap her school in culturally affirming mindsets and behaviors, focusing on the whole child, whole staff and whole community, as well as in academics. This includes having diversity, equity and inclusion a driving part of her hiring process, as well as starting each team meeting with Liberatory Mindsets and DPS’ Culturally Responsive Education initiatives and asking her staff to set goals around them. 

“I’m proud of the shifts we’ve made as John H. Amesse together,” she said. “My staff is daily confronting their own ‘isms’ and having equity conversations, which was not happening as in depth prior. They are taking it on themselves and asking ‘How am I intentionally supporting all of my learners in our classroom and school? How am I supporting our Black learners?’”

She hopes this work will have an impact far beyond her time in the school, rippling through all of the John H. Amesse team and, most importantly, the students, who she hopes will leave Amesse with the confidence to share their voices and make a change in the world. 

As we all continue our equity journey together, Angelina encourages members of Team DPS to not just talk about equity, but to truly live it. 

“It’s going to be hard when you're facing systems of oppression, but continue to stand and live in that value, and fight for what’s right. I really believe in DPS and the work that we’ve started. We have a long way to go, but as long as we are going together and working to support all of our kids and community, that’s where we need to head.”