Dear DPS Community:
Thank you for all of your work on behalf of our students and families, and we hope you had a restful Thanksgiving break.
At tonight’s Board of Education work session, we announced that the Board has selected Dwight Jones, our current Senior Deputy Superintendent for Equity, as Denver Public Schools’ interim superintendent. We offer a warm welcome to Dwight who has agreed to serve as our interim superintendent through the end of July 2021. His heart and passion for strong public schools are reflected in his commitment to equity work in DPS. Dwight is one of Colorado’s most respected and experienced leaders in public education, and the Board has tremendous confidence that he is the right person to guide the district through this next phase of DPS’ leadership. Among his long list of career accomplishments, Dwight served as Colorado’s Commissioner of Education from 2007-2010 and was the Superintendent for the Clark County School District, which is the nation’s fifth-largest district and includes Las Vegas, Nevada, from 2010-2013.
The Board strongly believes that Dwight Jones is the right person to serve in the interim role. He is an equity-driven leader with a broad and deep understanding of the complexities and challenges we’ll be facing over the next six months. He has been a valued and integral member of the Senior Leadership Team throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Dwight understands and is committed to our priorities, values and relationships as he was a close collaborator with the Board of Education as we developed the Crisis Priorities that serve as our roadmap during the pandemic. Given his experience, he understands the depth of the critical decisions that have to be made in the coming weeks to help plan for a return to in-person learning for January, if our health conditions allow. Dwight has shared that he does not intend to seek the role beyond his time as interim, and the Board will be conducting a national search.
Under state law, there is a 14-day notice period to allow for input from the community before the Board of Education votes on the appointment. That vote is scheduled to take place at the Board’s Dec. 17 meeting, and Dwight would begin as interim superintendent on Friday, Jan. 1.
Superintendent Susana Cordova will serve DPS until the end of the year and will spend this time transitioning with the board and Dwight. We are extremely grateful for Susana’s strong and caring leadership as our superintendent and for all of the lasting contributions she’s made to our city and our schools as an educator, a leader, and a cherished community member. We all wish Susana the best as she moves on to an exciting new opportunity with the Dallas Independent School District.
At tonight’s meeting the Board of Education also began discussing the search process for the next leader of the Denver Public Schools. DPS has a stellar reputation across the nation. Denver is a world-class city, and we are excited to talk with a talented and diverse set of candidates, as this is a tremendous opportunity to bring a great leader with new ideas to DPS.
The Board will be meeting again on Dec. 9 to discuss the timeline for the search and hiring a search firm to support the process. A critical piece of the timeline will include community engagement, while also following the HR and confidentiality guidelines of a recruitment process. Four members of the current Board were a part of the superintendent search process in 2018, and their expertise will help guide this process along with the three new voices.
We will continue to update you as the search process progresses, and we invite you to take an active role in helping us make this critically important decision for the future of our children, our schools, and our city.
Thank you again for your commitment to DPS and our students, and we send along our well-wishes to you and your loved ones.
Carrie A. Olson, PhD, President
Jennifer Bacon, Vice President