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DPS Leadership

Dr. Alex Marrero, Superintendent

Dr. Alex Marrero became superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Colorado’s largest school district, on July 6, 2021. Dr. Marrero leads with a vision of supporting students the way educators supported him growing up and into his career. As the child of a Cuban refugee and an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, Alex prides himself on representing many of the Latinx students in the communities he has served as a school leader and in district leadership positions. He attended New York City public schools, and began his education career there as well, serving as a guidance counselor, assistant principal and principal. He believes that every child can accomplish what he has, not only overcoming obstacles but being recognized as a leader in their chosen field.

His life experiences showed him both what a difference-maker a great education can be, and how shamefully different the opportunities are for Black and Brown students in a system of stark inequities. And he has made it his life’s work to–in his own words–“pursue equity and excellence for all students and help others see the diversity within our schools as a strength.”

Alex has been honored as an outstanding administrator by the Latino Caucus of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators and inducted into the New York Academy of Public Education. He received a Leadership and Excellence in Education Award from the Association of Dominican-American Supervisors and Administrators and was recognized as a Latino Administrator of the Year by the Association for Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

In January 2020, Alex joined the City School District of New Rochelle as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. In September, he became the first Latinx head of the city’s school system, serving as acting and then interim superintendent. Prior to that, as Assistant Superintendent at East Ramapo Central School District, Alex supported schools into Good Standing and increased graduation rates.

Alex’s doctoral dissertation—Dominican Parents’ Involvement in Children’s College Aspirations and Achievement Motivation—speaks to his dedication and commitment to engaging families. His life exemplifies a bit of wisdom he borrows from Nelson Mandela; “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Dwight Jones, Senior Deputy Superintendent, Equity

DwightJonesDwight Jones currently serves as Denver Public Schools Senior Deputy Superintendent, Equity and Engagement.

Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President of Equity, Inclusion & Urban Markets at McGraw-Hill Education. In his role, he worked with leading national, regional and local associations and organizations to find new ways to partner together to address the needs of administrators, teachers and students in some of the largest and most academically diverse U.S. school districts.

Before joining McGraw-Hill Education, Dwight served as Discovery Communications’ Superintendent in Residence and provided strategic guidance and advice to the organization’s Education Division.Prior to that, he served as the superintendent of Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, the nation’s fifth largest school district. During his tenure there, he initiated a school reform agenda designed to raise the academic bar and ensure all of the district’s 315,000 students were prepared for college, a career or the military.

Prior to his time in Nevada, Dwight served as the Colorado Commissioner of Education, overseeing the education of more than 830,000 students across more than 1,700 schools in 178 public school districts. His efforts to revamp state standards, improve accountability and narrow achievement gaps, particularly those related to race and socioeconomic status, have been recognized by governors, legislators and colleagues across the state. He also oversaw the development of the Colorado Growth Model, which depicts the overall achievement of individual schools and districts to administrators, educators and the public and has since been implemented in more than 15 states.

Dwight has been recognized by numerous organizations throughout his career. He has been awarded the AASA Distinguished Service Award (2019), the NAACP’s Heartbeat Award (2013), the Asian Chamber of Commerce Community Achievement Award (2013), Chairman’s Award of Excellence, Nevada Latin Chamber of Commerce (2012), Alumni Fellow for Kansas State University’s College of Education (2011), and Troops to Teachers Hall of Fame (2010).

Dwight and his wife Jenifer are the parents to 3 children and reside in Colorado Springs, CO.

Michael J. Ramirez, Deputy Superintendent of Schools

Head shot of Mike RamirezMichael J. Ramirez is Deputy Superintendent of Schools. The schools team is focused on our neighborhoods’ or regions’ unique needs, including the support of partnerships and relationships among schools. This structure enables educators to better focus on the whole child across schools as students transition from grade to grade.

Michael was previously Cadre Director for the Office of School Performance and Accountability with Broward County Public Schools in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the nation’s sixth largest school district serving 271,000 students. He supervised high schools providing support, coaching and evaluation. His primary responsibilities in Broward included increasing academic achievement, graduation rates, college/career life readiness and overall school culture.

Michael is entering his 25th year in education. He has served as a high school principal, assistant principal and teacher. He has served as an adjunct college professor and as President of the Florida Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (FL-ALAS). Michael is a graduate of two Superintendent Academies that have fueled his beliefs in equity leadership.

Tamara Acevedo, Deputy Superintendent of Academics

Tamara Acevedo is Deputy Superintendent of Academics, which aims to build coherence with tighter coupling of teaching and learning functions across the board.

She previously served for five years as the Lead Instructional Superintendent for Denver Public Schools in Network 1 – Northwest Collaborative.  Tamara initiated the creation of breakthrough networks, an innovative learning structure focused on specific school needs and lead by principal leaders.  Tamara holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Disorders and Speech Science from the University of Colorado and a Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Denver University.

She has participated in instructional and organizational leadership programs including the EdLead and Leverage Leadership Institute fellowships and The University of Virginia Turnaround Partnership for Leaders in Education.   Tamara has worked in Denver Public Schools over the past twenty-two years as a teacher/literacy lead teacher, Mathematics Content Specialist, Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator, assistant principal, principal and instructional superintendent.

She has had diverse teaching and leadership experiences at Swansea, Bromwell, Gilpin and Carson elementary schools.  As a Denver native who as a child attended Denver Public Schools, Tamara has a strong commitment to the city and the education of its children.

James Carpenter, Deputy Superintendent of Operations

Deborah Staten, Chief of Staff

Michelle Berge, General Counsel

Michelle Berge, a DPS parent and longtime member of Team DPS, leads our legal team. In this capacity, she helps advise the elected school board, superintendent and senior leaders of the state’s largest school district on all legal matters

Michelle was a law clerk for former DPS General Counsel and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Alex Martinez, as well as law clerk for former Gov. Bill Ritter. For the past seven years Michelle, who is bilingual, has led a pro bono legal clinic for Spanish-speaking families in Greeley to connect them with legal services.

Michael Vaughn, Chief Communications Officer

MichaelVaughnMike has more than 20 years of experience working in school district communications. He worked for the Chicago Public Schools for 13 years, serving as press secretary and director of communications, and then came to Denver to lead the DPS communications office from 2009-2014. Before returning to DPS, Mike spent five years as director of communications for Education Post, a national nonprofit organization.

Verónica Figoli, President and CEO, DPS Foundation

Verónica Figoli leads the Denver Public Schools Foundation, the strategic fundraising partner to DPS that activates philanthropic support, invests in proven and promising programs, and connects the community to our classrooms.

Verónica joined the DPS Foundation from DPS’ Family and Community Engagement Office (FACE), where she served as the Chief Officer. Prior to her time at FACE, Verónica served as a Program Officer at the Piton Foundation, where she worked with the foundation’s grantees, other foundations and community stakeholders to help advance key initiatives supporting student achievement and adult self-sufficiency.

Originally from Venezuela, Verónica graduated from Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, and obtained her master’s degree in business administration from Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Verónica has been selected by the Aspen Institute for its inaugural class of Colorado Children & Families Health and Human Services Fellows, which invests in visionary leaders committed to making Colorado the best place to have a child and sustain a thriving family.

Verónica is a proud parent of two DPS students.