A Celebration of DPS Women in Construction: Trena A. Marsal

Mar. 18, 2022
Trena Marsal headshot

Trena A. Marsal
Executive Director, Facility Management

Years in DPS: 23
Hometown: Dyersburg, Tennessee

Educational background:

B.S. in Environmental Health and Safety; Master of Management; MBA with Human Resources and I am a Certified Inspector/Management Planner

What advice do you have for girls and women interested in construction or other non-traditional careers?

Pursue your dream and never give up. There are so many facets within construction, whether it be design and architecture, maintenance, sustainability, or environmental. Follow your passion. Find mentors who will help you navigate and explore what is available.

What career path did you take to arrive in your current role?

Upon graduation from college I moved to Colorado. My first job was as an Environmental Specialist with a local firm. During that time, I also formed my own company and started conducting environmental air monitoring, microscopic analysis and inspections. One of those projects just happened to be in Denver Public Schools. I became acquainted with many DPS staff, and the thought of being able to support students as a member of DPS became my dream. As luck would have it, DPS passed a bond measure in 1998 and was seeking temporary employees to assist in the Construction Services Environmental Department – I applied and was hired! My professional goal was to use my management, construction and safety background. Eventually, I became the Chief of Maintenance Engineering, leading small construction projects, developing standards, structuring maintenance programs, reviewing drawings and teaching blueprint-reading classes. After a few years in this role I was promoted to the Director of Operations and Maintenance. This role led both the Custodial Operations team and the Maintenance team. This was quite a challenge but prepared me for my next promotion as the Executive Director of Facilities where I serve today.

Describe your job:

The #1 priority of my job is to ensure that all DPS students, staff and community are provided a safe, healthy, quality learning environment (inside and out) that meets the needs of both the community and our academic mission. I lead by creating a compelling vision (and accountability) for my team that ensures all facilities within DPS will meet the goals of the department and the district’s mission that all kids will achieve and thrive. To realize this vision I ensure wise fiscal management of our budget, the right people in the right place, sustainable practices, policies and procedures, solid expectations and a culture where my staff feels safe and supported.

How does your work positively impact the lives of DPS students?

We create and sustain an environment within our schools for our students and staff to thrive. We create facilities that are also learning tools for the students. For example, kids can learn through our Sustainability Program about energy use and consumption, geothermal energy. There is a kiosk and open building design at the Evie Dennis Campus with learning elements. Our department often hosts students to learn about careers in facilities and maintenance

What do you enjoy most about working in DPS?

I enjoy helping our students and being part of the mission of the district. DPS has so many talented and awesome leaders. Working here has allowed me to help others grow but has also provided for my professional growth.

Is there a project you are especially proud of that you’ve led or have been involved with in DPS?

There are so many but if I have to name one, I am especially proud of being a part of the team that established our Guiding Design Principles for 21st Century Learning Environments. These Guiding Principles have been used over the years to inform how our buildings are built and designed. Recently I was able to participate on the Superintendent’s Transition Team. It was such an honor to be a part of that effort and to work with so many wonderful DPS team members.

What do you do for fun or relaxation when you’re not at work?

For fun I like to hike (the Incline is awesome), write poetry and attend comedy shows.