News Great leaders are waiting to lead Denver education

A few months after moving to Denver, I realized that my sister was not getting the same quality resources and support I got as a multilingual learner. The reason? She was in Denver Public Schools (DPS), and I went to school in Frisco, Summit County, a better-funded district. 

This realization would start my community involvement, leading me to a career in nonprofits working in parent engagement, adult and youth leadership development, community development, and workforce development.

As a community member, whenever I read the news about DPS, talk to parents, or interact with students, I walk away asking myself, “what can we do?” So when I was invited to apply to the Denver Families for Public School’s LEAD 101  program, I jumped on it! 

The program offered community members a safe and collaborative space to explore different action avenues ranging from being community advocates to the possibility of running for a seat on the DPS School Board one day. 

Over a weekend, the program visited the history of Denver’s education landscape and how national contexts have affected DPS. We dug into the basics of a campaign from the viewpoints of a candidate and a campaign staffer. There was so much invaluable information, and as someone who’s worked in and around the education sphere, I was humbled by how much I still have to learn. 

Programs like this are essential as we try to address the problems facing learners and families. Year after year, we keep failing our students because the leaders we have elected failed to center the needs of learners at the core of their decisions. It’s clear we need change, and we need it now, but the change we need has to come from our communities.

The paradox is we don’t lack leaders; in fact, we have great leaders in our community, advocates, and organizers on the field, in the schools, and out in the community working with families. Oftentimes, these people only need insight, a platform, and the know-how, and LEAD does a great job at helping overcome these challenges. 

What I value the

most about LEAD is not the invaluable information but the diversity of perspectives and approaches to the work. Nothing beats the lived experiences of lifelong community leaders, teachers, and former elected officials.

I came out of the program with fresh perspectives and renewed hope. Hope that with the right leaders – and there were many great leaders in the cohort – we can start to do right by students and their families.