While we often talk about how Denver schools need improvement, we also happily acknowledge that there are incredible developments underway. Our 2013 Game Changers are individuals who, in 2013, led many of these efforts.
Those who we are recognizing this year stood up against tall odds, sometimes took unpopular stances to retain a focus on kids, and ultimately laid the groundwork for future educators and policymakers.
The four A+ Denver 2013 Game Changers demonstrated excellence in practice, politics, or policy.
Keith Mills, Principal at Green Valley Ranch Elementary, has quietly taken GVR from “Yellow” to “Blue.” His highly-structured and seasoned approach has led to exceptional school performance and growth. It is great to see a district-managed school become an exemplar for other Colorado turnaround schools and we hope to see its practices replicated.
Meanwhile, North High School’s Nicole Veltze has not so quietly made comprehensive and positive changes to North High School. She has focused on instruction and development of a school culture focused on learning. North has thus far shown student growth and we applaud Ms. Veltze’s tenacity and vision. We look forward to an increasing number of North students demonstrating college readiness.
Former DPS Board Member Nate Easley led redesign efforts in far Northeast Denver despite having to make some politically difficult decisions. He supported both district-managed and charter schools, and often insisted on facility sharing in underutilized buildings. As a board member, Mr. Easley put the interests of kids before those of adults, and his leadership resulted in hundreds of new seats being made available across the district.
Marcia Neal, Vice Chairwoman of the Colorado State Board of Education, broke from a number of party-line votes to stand up for school and district accountability in the interests of low-income and students of color. Marcia is a consistent and strong voice for high standards, ensuring that Colorado’s students are prepared for work, college and life.
We thank these individuals for being an inspiration to us and for being true champions for kids in Denver.
A+ Denver Staff