Superintendent Susana Cordova kicked off her first day as DPS’ superintendent Monday interacting with students, educators, families and community leaders at Barnum Elementary School, the elementary school she attended as a child.
Educators, families and DPS Board of Education members joined Susana for an assembly to mark the start of her work at the helm of DPS. Special guest speakers included Mayor Michael B. Hancock, former Mayors Wellington Webb and Federico Peña and former Superintendent Evie Dennis, as well as Barnum fifth-grader Aaliyah Villarreal.
“Susana represents an opportunity for us to improve the way we work with our community. We need to strengthen the ways we work together for our children,” said Board Vice President Barbara O’Brien. “Susana has pledged to take action on the concerns she heard during the search process. She is a gifted listener and that is an extraordinary attribute for a leader of an urban school district.”
Superintendent Cordova said: “As the superintendent of schools, I want to re-focus our effort where it matters most — on creating classrooms that are vibrant centers of learning where caring teachers are engaging their students in rigorous, culturally responsive experiences so that all children excel. Ensuring that this happens in every DPS classroom requires leadership from everyone — our Board of Education, and great teachers and leaders in every school. Our teachers and school leaders do the most important work in our society — preparing students for the future — and I am excited to work with them to create greater equity.”
“Susana, I am so proud you have been selected to serve,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Your city stands with you. We have no doubt that you’ll be successful. These children are what matters most.”
Former Mayor Federico Peña said: “I do want to congratulate the school board for their courage and wisdom in their selection.” And former Mayor Wellington Webb noted the vital importance of the superintendent’s work, citing the Masai greeting, “And how are the children?”
Former Superintendent Evie Dennis added: “No Superintendent can succeed by herself. We all need to pledge our support to Susana. There will be triumphs, to be sure. But also great moments of challenge. We as a community must be there for Susana, so she can be there for our students.”
“Ms. Cordova and I have something in common. We both attended Barnum for all of our elementary school years. We both have had wonderful teachers at Barnum,” said Barnum fifth-grader Aaliyah Villarreal. “Superintendent Cordova and Mayor Hancock are great examples of how Denver Public Schools can prepare us for bright futures.”