A message from our Board of Education:
Dear Team DPS,
Today is the start of a new chapter for Denver Public Schools. Susana Cordova will begin her service as Superintendent of DPS with a visit to Barnum Elementary, where she began her educational journey. In a wonderful show of support, Mayor Michael B. Hancock and former Mayors Wellington Webb and Federico Peña will attend an assembly at Barnum, as will former Superintendent Evie Dennis, members of the Board of Education, business leaders, educators, parents and students. Susana is a brilliant example to our students of how someone can lead in the city where they have grown up, and we appreciate what this means to the many who will be following in her footsteps.
With her deep roots in the community, unparalleled breadth and depth of knowledge of DPS, educational expertise, and expansive network of relationships with educators, parents, and civic, community, philanthropic and business leaders, Susana is uniquely well-situated to lead our school district effectively and inclusively. Susana is a gifted listener, and that's something she will bring to the table as a superintendent with the community.
Still, no superintendent can succeed by herself. We all need to pledge our support to Susana. We as a community must be there for Susana, so she can be there for our students. We are incredibly excited about what lies ahead and are committed to working collaboratively to accomplish our vision that every child will succeed.
Your DPS Board of Education
Anne Rowe, Barbara O'Brien, Lisa Flores, Carrie Olson, Happy Haynes, Jennifer Bacon and Angela Cobián
A message from Superintendent Susana Cordova:
Dear Team DPS,
"The beginning is the most important part of the work." -- Plato
Today, on my first day as superintendent, I am going back to the beginning, where I started my education in DPS -- to Barnum Elementary School. It was at Barnum that I learned how to read, write, do math and think critically. I had teachers that I remember to this day, like Ms. Vanderwyst, my fourth-grade teacher, who inspired me to become a teacher. I had an amazing principal, Mrs. Wilma Gillespie, who was the first woman I knew in a leadership role. My whole family was impressed with Mrs. Bernice Juarez Johnson, who was the first Latina we knew in a professional position. All these people had an impact on me, even at that early age and even before I fully understood why they were important to me. At the time, they were simply the people who took care of me outside my home. They guided me toward the future and they helped me see a larger world than my Barnum neighborhood.
School plays an important role in all of our lives. It's where we make friends, learn and grow. And the Denver Public Schools plays an especially important role for many of our students, who, like me and many of you, get access to the larger world only through school. Our teachers and leaders do such important work and I am grateful to all of you for your dedication to our vision: Every Child Succeeds. I know we can get there if we are all working together to create greater equity for our students. That's why I am committed to working in collaboration with Team DPS and our community on a small set of priorities that will help us reach this goal. We must ensure that all of our educators have the tools and training they need to be culturally responsive and create warm and welcoming environments for our amazing and diverse students. Our classrooms need to be vibrant centers of learning where we can push each and every one of our students to excel. There is excellence in all of our students and our job is to bring that excellence out.
I also believe in the importance of working in collaboration with our community. As a life-long Denverite, I know how important our schools are to our communities and I am committed to collaborating to improve our schools.
We have big work in front of us. I know it won't always be easy, and I also know I don't have all the answers. I believe deeply that we are better together and I invite you to join in an ongoing collaboration over the coming weeks and months as I move into this new role. The next two weeks, I am dedicating my time and attention to our negotiations with our teachers, because I know how important it is for us to work on a solution so that we can reach an agreement with our teachers. After that, I'll be launching a community-wide conversation to invite people to participate helping us move to the next level of improvement in DPS. I am excited and more than a little nervous about assuming such a big job. What gives me strength is knowing how dedicated all of you are to our common aspiration of making the Denver Public Schools the best district in the United States. Thank you for all that you do every day and I can't wait to work alongside you every step of the way to make our vision a reality.