The 10 finalists are Jennifer Bacon, Makisha Boothe, Priya Burkett, Rachele Camesa-Espiritu, Velvia Garner, Jo-Nell Herndon, MiDian Holmes, Arnetta Koger, Dexter Korto and Adrienne Tate.
The Board will hold a community forum at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 21, 2016 at Manual High School to introduce finalists and provide for community feedback.
The remaining schedule leading to final selection is:
Thurs., April 7, 2016 – Board will hold a special meeting beginning at 4:30 p.m. to interview the finalists for the vacancy.
Tues., April 12, 2016 – Board will hold a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. to take a final vote on the finalists and announce the new Board Director for District 4.
Mon., April 18, 2016 – The new Board Director for District 4 will be sworn in at the Board of Education work session beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The 22 candidates are listed below with the ten finalists at the top of the list.
Denver Public Schools Board of Education has a vacancy for District 4, which runs from Five Points through Park Hill and Stapleton and into Far Northeast. Applicants introduced themselves to the Board of Education on March 8. Below is condensed information from their applications and resumes. To see full resumes and applications, visit http://board.dpsk12.org/boardmembers/dps-board-of-education-vacancy-district-4/
Education/Experience: BS in Management, Business Law and American Politics. Juris Doctor. 10+ years in public education. Spent the last five years with Denver Schools of Science & Technology, Padres y Jovenes Unidos; The Women’s Foundation of Colorado; and Teach For America- Colorado. At Teach For America, led the team that achieved critical mass of teachers of color (from 12-40%). Recently joined Far-northeast Black Parents Leadership and Advisory Group as well as joined the Community Design Committee for Noel Community Arts Middle School and the Interim Superintendent’s African American Roundtable.
Statement: My cultural communities have emphasized that education is the engine for forward movement, where each generation is prepared and charged with pushing us towards true freedom…and whether we have access to knowledge is a life or death determination. My parents faced Jim Crow and overt discrimination; I faced the onset of codified low expectations for students of color manifested things like entry way metal detectors and public labels of failure… My vision for Denver Public Schools is simple: our educational experience will be about mastering 21st century content; but more, our students will understand the world and their place in it. I firmly believe that this can be achieved, and I firmly believe Denver Public Schools is the district that can accomplish this and become a global example of success.
Education/Experience: University of Colorado at Denver, B.A. Political Science, Yale Women’s Campaign School, KIPP Leadership Development Fellowship, Harvard Public Education Leadership Program. Currently DPS Director of Strategic School Design and Senior Director. Successfully launched and managed DPS’s first and the nation’s second innovation lab, the imaginarium. Also currently Senior Advisor to the President of Colorado Senate Majority, Lead the strategic planning for the caucus in media, outreach, policy and administration. Previously was Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Public Charter Schools.
Statement: To secure opportunities that will allow me to leverage my business development, project management and strategic planning skills in service of a project or agency’s social justice goals. Interested in closing the achievement gap and helping to develop policy solutions that move us toward achieving the Denver 2020 Plan.
Education/Experience: University of Colorado, Denver, Executive MBA. The George Wasington University, D.C. BA, Finance and Information Systems. Senior executive with proven expertise in leading large and complex cross-functional portfolio of projects to profitable solutions. Currently Director, Strategic Accounts, Xcel Energy and Board of Director, Denver Public Schools Foundation. Other activities include: Board of Trustees, Friends Foundation Denver Public Library; Collaborative School Committee Dora Moore ECE-8; Friends of Manual High School; Tutor, Colorado Reading Partners; 2016 Co-Chair Booklovers Ball Denver Public Library; Junior Achievement of Denver Metro.
Statement: I believe education is the only way to improve our collective opportunities and quality of life. I am passionate about our children and their education. My service will provide valuable insight and leadership for our public schools. I will advocate for the parents and will seek to strengthen our communities’ bond with our teachers and administrators. As Denver’s population swells we must continue to work collaboratively and relentlessly to strengthen our ability to educate our children. I am not a trained educator or administrator. I am a seasoned operations professional and relationship builder. I have worked in a publicly regulated environment for the past fourteen years and understand the responsibilities and challenges of that environment. My time working for multi-national consulting companies has allowed me to understand the nuances of culture and benchmarking.
I am involved with DPS on many levels and it is an integral part of my everyday life and a fundamental part of my family… Our family made the decision to move our oldest out of DPS to Colorado Academy for sixth grade, mainly because there were no “good” options for middle school in our home area and we did not want to gamble her middle school education in the choice lottery system… As a leader in Denver, I want and believe that EVERY school in EVERY neighborhood should be great.
Education/Experience: University of Colorado-Boulder, Ph.D Clinical Psychology, University of Colorado-Boulder, MA Clinical Psychology, University of California-San Diego, BA Psychology. Understand children’s behavioral health, behavioral health disparities and equity, cultural and linguistic competence, systems collaboration, program evaluation, and change management. Founder of Change Matrix, LLC, a minority and women-owned designated small business that motivates, manages and measures change to support systems that improve lives. Project Director for the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health to eliminate behavioral health disparities based on race, ethnicity, culture and sexuality. Also Denver Asian Pacific-American Commission member to advocate Asian Pacific American community in Denver.
Statement: Outside of the home, most children spend the majority of their time in our most treasured institutions: our public elementary, middle, and high schools. Having received my education from amazing public institutions from elementary to graduate school and having two children currently attending Denver Public Schools, I am invested in the success of Denver’s public education institutions.
I am committed to the DPS vision of Every Child Succeeds and the five goals of the Denver Plan 2020. I believe that great schools in every neighborhood should support the whole child, and every child, for success in our communities.
Education/Experience: BS Nursing, MS in Nursing Administration, Doctorate (in progress), Public Administration, Policy, Public Management. Currently, Director Education Programs, Accent Learning Systems, Aurora. Throughout years, member of adolescent health committees, advisory boards for mental health centers and Aurora Community College.
Statement: I have always taken an interest in the Denver Schools. Had three children and two grandchildren graduate from DPS. While they were school age I worked as PTSA president to support the needs of students, teachers and the community. I served over 20 years in the capacity as PTSA and later PTSO organizations in the Montbello area. My passion is working with high risk adolescents. My professional career included working with adolescents. I know today’s youngsters are struggling to find themselves in their homes and in their schools. Teachers are hard pressed to walk into their classrooms and do their jobs without a real challenge getting their undivided attention. Teachers and students need advocates and role models to keep them engaged. While I know this is a policy oriented position, I feel my long history of involvement in the community and the schools as a practitioner and community activist has given me some special insight into the needs and wishes of both kids and teachers.
Education/Experience: MBA and Master of Nonprofit Management. Has served on boards including Montessori Academy of Colorado and the CU Denver Business School. Worked as vice president at Denver Investment Advisors and SunCorp Corporate Credit Union. Founded and grew a successful Montessori early childhood school (now including elementary education) in our community. Organized the Stapleton Community Education Coalition in 2009 to address the need for additional elementary schools within the Stapleton Community. Started and continue to run the Westerly Creek Elementary Food Pantry.
Denver resident 15 years. Has five children attending DPS schools. “If it was determined that my service was effective, productive and value added to both our community and myself, I would likely be willing to run for election in November 2017.”
Statement: All children, regardless of family structure, socio-economics, gender or heritage, deserve and are entitled to an excellent education. I want to represent and advocate for our children throughout District 4 and throughout the entire district. The district needs to continue to work diligently to end the achievement gaps for all our children and instill a lifelong love of learning.
I believe that I would be an asset to the board with my financial, bond, management and communication skills. We must be able to support our DPS professionals in the schools and administration so that they can be proud of the work they do at all levels of the organization. We must also listen to our communities, build trust and relationships with all families.
MiDian Z. Holmes
Education/Experience: Operations professional, specializing in training development.Community activities include education advocacy and community resource for Colorado Student Athletes. MLK Humanitarian Award nominee, Planting the Seed recipient, STAND Chapter Chair.
Denver resident 35 years. Mother of three school aged children and attended DPS school.
Undecided if she would run in 2017.
Statement: I graduated from Montbello High School and was a student that would easily be recollected as hard working. I enjoyed going above and beyond in the classroom and graduated at the top of my class. After turning my tassel, I was eager to move forward in my life journey with high ambition. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was met with several obstacles. These obstacles came from the educational reference that I made on my job and scholarship applications. Despite the hard work that I put forth in my studies at Montbello high school, it was the stigma of a “failing school” that haunted me. I was haunted by the societal reference that I was not afforded a quality education.
As a parent, and a proud resident of the FNE community I made the conscious choice to raise my children in my community. For far too long, DPS has settled for the failed relationship that lures over the communities that it represents, and I truly believe in the board representation that we have, today, is working diligently to rescue that relationship. It would be an honor to bring my enthusiasm and my voice, as a parent, to the proverbial round table that will aid the district in reaching and excelling its core values, and proving that collectively, we all believe in STUDENTS FIRST!
Education/Experience: Teacher Leader. Social studies teacher, Denver Center for: International Studies at Montbello. Obama for America community organizer. Elementary/Middle school teacher in Chicago. Account executive for Sprint.
Professional and community organizations: Emerge Colorado, Colorado Education Association (CEA), Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT), NAACP-Denver Branch, Corresponding Secretary, New Hope Baptist Church – Women’s Ministry Co-Chair.
Denver resident 4 years. Elementary and middle school children in DPS. Would run in 2017.
Statement: I’ve taught Civics, Ethnic Studies, and Sociology for four years at Denver Center for International Studies at Montbello and have taken on several leadership roles. For me, it’s a professional responsibility to keep informed and to keep our students, parents, and community informed regarding local, state, and national education policy issues. School diversity and equity are very important to our country’s future as a democracy and I have worked to ensure that curriculum is relevant to students’ lives and experiences and that my classes prepare students for life beyond high school. I feel that it is necessary to have someone like me on the school board, someone who is close to issues and challenges that we face in Denver Public Schools. I think it is crucial that teachers, parents, students, and community members work together to devise feasible solutions and I know that I am qualified to be that policymaker. I am hopeful that the school board can work with the larger Denver community to ensure that all of our schools are helping students to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.
Education/Experience: 9Th grade Writing teacher and 7th Grade Social Studies teacher at DSST: Cole, (2014-present). Urban Leader Fellow (2012), defensive backs coach at Montbello High School (2011-14), board member of Girls On The Run Colorado Rockies Chapter, Compass Academy board member, recipient of Division 1 athletic scholarship.
Lived in Denver 5 years. Neither the candidate nor his children have attended DPS schools. Would run in 2017.
Statement: Although there have been many efforts to create innovative change, we as a school district have failed to actively include teacher input and student voice in some of these system-level conversations. Having worked at both one of the lowest performing district public high schools and one of the highest performing charter high schools, in the same district, I have experienced what is and is not working.
I would like to add my voice to aid the board to most effectively identify levers, at the school and district wide systems levels, that will ensure not only is the Denver 2020 plan achieved, but that we also are crafting a clear vision that holds all parties accountable for successes or failures beyond 2020.
The cultural, social, political, physical and academic landscapes that our students navigate have shifted drastically over the past 5 years. Our district needs a voice who has been on the ground, witnessing the effects they have on not just the academic performance of our highest students, but the academic and social effects it has had on some of our most marginalized students and families. To improve is to change, to perfect is to change often.
Education/Experience: Founder and Lead Consultant, Tate Education Consulting. Designed and facilitated trainings for teachers and school leaders. Worked successfully with a range of educational institutions, from small private schools to large urban school districts, to meet the needs of their educators. Prior experience: Manager, Community and Professional Engagement, Teach For America, National. Elementary teacher for 5 years. Board Member, Explore and Discover, Cooperative Early Learning Center. Master of Arts in Education with a focus in Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies. Certificate in early childhood education.
Denver resident for 8 years plus college years. Kindergarten child attends DPS. Would run in 2017.
Statement: As a former teacher and teacher trainer who has worked successfully in schools impacted by poverty, I understand what it takes to prepare all students for the future. I want to ensure that the students in every Denver neighborhood have a choice of schools that meet their needs, accommodate their learning styles, and prepare them for college. We have already seen great success with school choice in many parts of Denver, yet students and parents need to have great schools from which to choose in every neighborhood, whether they be traditional, innovation or charter schools. When I studied Education Policy at Stanford University, I saw how strong policies at the district level can positively affect students and teachers. As a member of the board of education, I will use my experience and knowledge to ensure that there are a variety of excellent schools in every neighborhood, and no matter what school a DPS student selects, they will have top-quality teachers and a top-quality education.
Education/Experience: Professionally trained and experienced as an educator, independent life and health insurance sales/contractor. Associates of Applied Science, Computer Information Systems, Bachelors of Science, Business Administration, Masters of Science, Education, Literacy and Learning in Content Areas. Currently affiliate/adjunct at Metro State University of Denver/Community College of Denver Community College of Aurora. Sales/Grant Writing since 1992 training and submissions, research and networking
Statement: I have extensive knowledge of the needs of students and education professionals that I believe would be useful to furthering the success of the NE School District.
Education/Experience: Currently, Research Coordinator for Unitying4Kids, a non-profit children’s advocacy group. A in Political Science from Columbia University and MA in Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. A nuclear policy specialist, worked as a Defense Analyst for DC-based defense contractor SAIC, headed up the Nuclear Nonproliferation Program at NYU’s Center for War, Peace and the News Media, and served as Program Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Has been acting in theater and film in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver
Statement: I would like to serve on the Board because I feel my experience as a parent, community member, writer, policy analyst and education advocate will help me promote policies that give every Denver child access to a holistic, rich and well-rounded education.
I am known in my community as a children’s advocate and an educational policy expert.
Education/Experience: Bachelor of Science, Purdue University. Broker/owner of Property Management & Real Estate Business, 15 years of real estate industry experience, leader in marketing activities, consistent volunteer in education: Reading Partners, tutor, Ashley Elementary; Collaborative School Committee, Scholastic Book Fair Chair, Tour Leader & Chaperon, D.C. trip, McAuliffe International School; Design Review Committee, Program Committee, Northfield High School. Similar volunteer experience at Westerly Creek Elementary, Girl Scouts, Denver Discovery and DSST high School.
Statement: I have had a clear and consistent interest in public elementary and secondary education since I moved to Denver in 2002 from Golden. I have consistently held a variety of volunteer positions, including many leadership positions at the individual school level and the greater community level over the past 14 years.
I am aware of the tremendous accomplishments that Denver Public Schools, particularly in District 4 have made over the past 14 years. Much has been initiated, improved and accomplished. That is something to celebrate and build on. However, there are still many challenges facing Denver Public Schools. The Denver Plan 2020 is a significant challenge. I have the experience, knowledge, energy and enthusiasm to tackle that challenge and the others that face Denver Public Schools. I look forward to the opportunity to serve.
Education/Experience: University of New Mexico, Masters of Business Administration, Park University, Bachelor of Science in Management and Accounting, minor in Human Resources. 20+ years of accounting/finance experience, background in corporate and non-profit sectors. Currently Board President of Monarch Montessori of Denver Charter School and First Steps at Monarch Montessori. Was member of the School Accountability Committee for the Odyssey School of Denver and a business manager for the Monessori Academy of Colorado.
Statement: Education is a true passion of mine. I myself have several bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree. I have spent the last 8 years actively engaged in educating kids in Denver. From serving two private Montessori schools and two charter schools in DPS, I have learned many valuable skills for running education organizations and the importance of focus on the achievement gap. I truly believe education is the single most important thing we can give our children… known throughout the GVR and the Stapleton communities as someone who cares for others and is dedicated to educating children.
Katrina Kamenoff Heim
Education/Experience: BA Business Administration, Deeply invested community member, DPS District Accountability Committee member and DPS Parent. Series of community service awards. Currently Product Sales Specialist & Service Provider, Cisco Systems, Inc. Past Director of Sales, Government and Education, Four Winds Interactive, LLC.
Statement: Want to make DPS better for ALL students
Education/Experience: Masters in Civil Engineering. President & Principal Engineer, Horne Engineering Solutions, LLC. Analysis and design of structures with a specific emphasis on lateral seismic and wind analysis and cold formed steel design services, structural steel design and construction and expert witness consulting. Projects have included Colorado capitol building dome and chambers renovation, CU Football stadium addition, Craig Hospital addition, Four Seasons Hotel, Vail. Church piano player. Recipient of various youth athletics awards.
Denver resident 2 years. Attended DPS school or has children who have. Would run in 2017.
Statement: I believe schools need to focus more on learning and creative critical thinking, in particular STEM related subjects.
Education/Experience: MS, Water Resources. Professional Engineer. National Highway Institute Instructor of Excellence (past 4 years). Numerous publications and professional presentations. Board member for Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority and Transportation Research Board and member of professional organizations. Co-chair DPS Bond oversight committee, Board of Greater Park Hill Community, Board of BCOC, church volunteer. Attended public school in California from K through 12.
Denver resident 16 years. No children who have attended DPS. Would run in 2017.
Statement: Public education is one of our most important institutions for providing opportunity and social justice! As a candidate at the last election for the district 4 seat I received over 8000 votes.
Mary Titus Sam
Education/Experience: Masters in Education. Retired DPS Master Teacher. Taught grades K-8 for 41 years in DPS. Coached basketball including 3 years as assistant coach at East HS. Past member Denver Classroom Teachers Association Bargaining Team, and DCTA rep to Collaborative Decision Making Team. Colorado Black Women for Political Action,Colorado Black Roundtable, NAACP. Teacher Advocate of the Year Retired Educator, NAACP Community Award Achievement in Civil Rights and Social Justice Advocacy, The
Salvador Varela DCTA Quiet Thunder Award
Denver resident 57 years. Candidate and her son both attended DPS schools. Would consider running in 2017.
Statement: I am interested in serving on the board of education because my community deserves a voice in what happens to our neighborhood’s schools, and I have the educational expertise and the leadership background to do the job.
Jose G. Silva
Education/experience: Master of Education in Education leadership. Currently executive director, the Pearl Group. Oversees staff of 150 and 50 community partnerships. Developed and implemented $967,000 funding campaign; implemented the Pearl Group Counseling Program for families; maintained annual budget. Mayoral appointee to the Denver Latino Commission, Elected Colorado Young Democrat, Member of the Black Parent Leadership Advisory Far Northeast, Founding member 40 under 40.
36 years resident of Denver. Attended DPS schools and child attends DPS. Would run in 2017.
Statement: The Student is the most important factor, because academic rigor cannot be accomplished, when our children are broken.
—I stake my legacy, on ensuring every 3-year-old in Denver is afforded free literacy education.
—DPS must continue to eliminate the Achievement Gap. All students can learn but we must understand all of the socio-situational issues that impact their ability to obtain the skills taught and willfully participate in class. This means continuing to move away from a punitive recourse system when dealing with behavior.
—Great schools in every neighborhood. Every school should be afforded the same resources, opportunities and support to succeed.
I see my role on the Board, to not only be a policy maker but to be an advocate for the students. Growing our Career Readiness and CTE programs means ensuring equity in participation for all students, no matter the school they attend. Lastly, supporting the call for wrap-around services and creating partnerships with non-profits to lead this effort. We have experts in these fields, in every part of our community. They are under-utilized by the district and want to partner with the Denver Public Schools.
Deborah L. Sims-Fard
Education/Experience: Founder/Executive Director sinc 2010, Dr. Justina Ford STEM Institute, to foster academic learning in Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math for elementary age girls of color in North Denver. Policy Council Member, Head Start – Mayors Office for Education and Children. President, North City Park Civic Association. Center for Urban Education –UNC at Denver, outreach to diverse communities for the recruitment of prospective teachers. DPS teacher K-3 1997-2010. MA in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (2017).
Denver resident 30 years. DPS Alumni and children attended DPS. Would run in 2017.
Statement: It is my belief that education is one of the single most effective resources to improve and support sustainability for all communities and its residents. Providing the best education possible to our children is to protect our very existence. I choose to seek the District 4 School Board seat because it is my belief that education can be the equalizer in our society. The decisions and policies made for our districts youngest members by our school board is crucial to all communities especially those communities that have been marginalized.
I believe I possess the skills such as consensus building, strong verbal and written skills, information processing and team building skills that will support and improve stronger ties between the school board and stakeholders. In addition, serving, as a conduit for the concerns of teachers and parents, ensuring that all teachers understand the importance of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, and creating safer schools are top priorities that are important to my candidacy and me.