Susana Cordova Named DPS Superintendent

Dec. 17, 2018
 
Susana Cordova poses with the Board of Education
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Since Susana Cordova was named DPS’ next superintendent on Dec. 17, we have heard from leaders across the nation celebrating and congratulating Susana on her new role.  Read more here

Dear DPS Community-

Tonight we selected Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova to lead our school district, following a national search that began in August. Our vote was unanimous. We came together, as a new board with new voices and new perspectives, because we believe we need unity in the work that lies ahead.

We expect Susana to assume her new role in early 2019 once her contract is finalized.

Susana Cordova is a nationally recognized education leader who has devoted her entire professional life to serving children and families. She is a first-generation college graduate who deeply understands the power of education to change lives. 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.

Susana, currently the district’s deputy superintendent, is a DPS graduate who has spent her career in DPS classrooms as a bilingual secondary teacher, principal of a high-needs elementary school and administrator whose responsibilities now include direct supervision of all 165 district-run schools and an annual budget of more than $130 million.

Susana stated: “My school experiences prepared me for a world that my family had never stepped foot in and that I had only read about in books. I am committed to ensuring that all students in DPS have caring, knowledgeable adults who will support them as I was supported. Every one of our students has excellence in them, and it’s our job as educators to bring that excellence out.”

Susana’s focus on equity has led to improved literacy rates for all young learners across DPS and the transformation of services for students learning English.

We believe Susana is uniquely qualified to lead our school district effectively and inclusively. She brings deep roots in the community, extraordinary depth of knowledge of DPS, educational expertise, and she is widely known and respected by an expansive network of educators, parents and civic, community, philanthropic and business leaders.

Read Susana’s full bio and resume at supersearch.dpsk12.org.

We as a board are incredibly grateful for the community’s engagement in the search to find the very best leader for Denver schools. The input we received has guided every step of this search. We’re committed to working closely with Susana to demonstrate that we can listen and build bridges.

Throughout the search process we demonstrated our commitment to engage with residents across Denver to listen carefully to the issues, concerns and recommendations raised by members of the community. The first phase of the search included more than 100 meetings and feedback from 4,500 individuals. During the final phase of engagement, students, families, educators and community members had the opportunity to hear from the candidate. More than 550 individuals participated in 12 meetings large and small as well as seven school visits. Every participant was asked to submit their feedback via a written form. We will use this feedback to develop an action plan.

Areas of focus highlighted by the community in both phases of the SuperSearch engagement process included:

Leadership qualities

  • A leader with both teaching and administrative experience.
  • A leader who promotes diversity and a positive climate across the district.
  • A leader who values teachers and works to address teacher salaries, teacher retention and hiring more teachers of color.

Areas of focus for our students

  • Closing the achievement and opportunity gap.
  • Increased funding and resources for schools and equitable distribution of resources.
  • More resources to increase culturally responsive curriculum.
  • Review of the School Performance Framework (SPF).
  • Access for every child to a great school.
  • Continuous improvement on community engagement.

We believe Susana possesses the most sought-after qualities we heard from our community, including the ability to set priorities as a leader of a large, complex organization, extensive experience as an educator, and a longstanding commitment to working with diverse communities.

During the past several weeks, Susana did not avoid controversy. She leaned into it. She shared her vision and her pledge to take action on the concerns she heard. She listened deeply and that is an extraordinary attribute for a leader of an urban school district.

Please join us in congratulating Susana and supporting her success in this critically important work. The future is incredibly bright for kids in Denver.

 

Sincerely,

Your DPS Board of Education

Anne Rowe, Barbara O’Brien, Lisa Flores, Carrie Olson, Happy Haynes, Jennifer Bacon and Angela Cobián

 

Read the full community engagement report, including key themes that emerged during the search. Learn more about the recruitment, application and initial interview process in this search update.