Program Manager of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Sharon R. Brown Bailey, Ph.D. is a native of Denver, Colorado and graduate of Denver’s East High School. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, a master’s degree in interdisciplinary social science and a Ph.D. in public administration from the University of Colorado. Her dissertation, Journey Full Circle: A Historical Analysis of Keyes v. School District No. 1, was an interdisciplinary analysis of Denver’s struggle with public school desegregation.
Professionally she has held several administrative positions in higher education. From 1988-1995, she served as an elected member of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education. As a policy associate for the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) from 2001-2004, she conducted research and provided policy analysis on a broad range of issues. She was responsible for the design and development of WICHE’S SPIDO, the State Policy Inventory Database Online, (currently, the State Higher Education Policy Database). For 12 years, (2004-2015), Dr. Bailey served as a member of the Executive Team in the Office of the Auditor in the City and County of Denver.
Sylvia’s work in Denver Public Schools involves an intentional effort to not only push opportunities for students and team members, but to also heighten circumstances for every child to succeed. She has enjoyed her journey in Denver Public Schools for over 20 years and her intentional effort to live and to share core values as an elementary teacher, music arts and instructional program specialist have been a natural part of this journey. As a school administrator and school-to -community connector, she has remained committed in her journey to serve students, parents and families.
In retrospect, her mentorship impacts have been used as occasions to illuminate, breed and encourage others to experience boundless human potential. She is the proud parent of two incredible young adults who are determined to contribute their talent, knowledge, compassion and skill to advance the best in all things humanity has to offer. Of course, she is delighted to celebrate her three grandchildren, as she attempts to “downplay” that they are the most adorable children in the world. Although she is the mother of two, Sylvia’s embrace of a diverse family includes a countless host of many.
Bill de la Cruz
Director of Equity and Inclusion
Bill has over 20 years of experience as a facilitator and coach with equity/inclusion, diversity and leadership development. He has been a school board member and board president in Boulder, Colorado and chaired two Governor appointed committees studying issues related to our achievement gap in Colorado. He earned his BBA in Leadership and Influence and is completing his MBA in Negotiaion and Conflict Resolution.
Sonja is a native of Colorado and a DPS graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School. She has her BA from Metro State University in Art and Business. Sonja has 15 years of experience in DPS serving at Hamilton Middle school as a Bookkeeper, Secretary and most recently Office Manger.
Sonja is married and the mother of 3 children who have all graduated from DPS. On her off time she enjoys hanging out with family, working out, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and volunteering with her husband at church as marriage and pre-martial facilitators to a diverse congregation and community.
Director of Culture and Engagement
Stacy has been with DPS for over 5 years and has worked with organizations from a variety of industries, with particular emphasis on leadership development, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, team building, performance management, mentoring/coaching, and strategic HR management. She has worked at Janus Capital Group where she was responsible for training and organizational development. At Janus, her team was awarded with the ASTD first best learning organization of 2008.
Stacy is a professor at Regis University where she teaches in both the Masters of Organizational Leadership and MBA programs. Stacy received her Master of Arts degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Colorado and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors, graduating magna cum laude in psychology from Southern Methodist University.
Stacy is a proud mother to Taylor, has climbed 40 Colorado 14ers, and loves traveling the world. My name is Stacy Dvergsdal, from Wyoming and I play for DPS!
Data and Program Coordinator
A Colorado native, Amalia is a DPS graduate from Emily Griffith High School and has her Associates Degree in Human Services. Amalia has been working in DPS for the past 10 years. She comes to the CELT team bringing experience from the Talent Management team, where she was the Teacher Leadership and Collaboration Operations Coordinator who maintained and monitored Teacher Incentive Funds and general budgets, helped manage the operational systems and processes for her team and coordinated the logistics for teacher leader professional development.
During Amalia’s time away from work, she enjoys spending time with her four children and husband, traveling and relaxing whenever possible.
Laci has been supporting non- profit and public entities in the areas of project and data management for more than 15 years. She was most recently at the Denver Public Schools Foundation, where she managed their database as well as providing data analytics and project management support. Prior to that she was at the Denver Rescue Mission where she oversaw programs that provided emergency services to homeless and low- income individuals and families.
Laci lives and plays in Northwest Denver with her husband and two children and is a proud DPS Parent. She enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.
Program Manager of Culturally Responsive Education
Danielle Harris, Ph.D. brings over 17 years of experience in education and has served as a classroom teacher, differentiated roles team leader, center director and program coordinator. Throughout her tenure, Danielle has worked with very diverse students and families, including students of color, students with special needs, students from varying socio-economic status’, gifted students and typically developing students as well.
Danielle has been playing for Team DPS for 7 years, and is a proud alumna of Denver Public Schools. After graduating from Montbello High School, Danielle earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Africana Studies from UNC in Greeley, Colorado. Danielle received her Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado at Denver in Early Childhood Special Education, and went on to complete her Doctorate of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on diverse learners from the University of Denver. Danielle’s research included studying the needs of African-American gifted students in an early childhood setting. Danielle continues to work with pre-service teachers through her position as adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado at Denver, in the School of Education and Human Development.
In her spare time, Danielle enjoys spending time with her daughters, Jaiden age 16, and Journey age 12, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Principal on Special Assignment
Gwen began working in the Denver Public Schools in 1979 as a classroom teacher where she taught children for many years. In addition to being a classroom teacher, Gwen has served as an instructional coach, mentor, assistant principal and principal. She retired from Carson Elementary School in 2009 after serving as the school’s principal for eight years and has since worked as an interim principal at Green Valley Elementary, Collegiate Prep Academy and Lowry Elementary. She also worked as a co-principal at Florida Pitt Waller. Gwen has also worked to support other principals as coach and mentor. One of her most fulfilling positions has been working with an administrative staff to support them in observing teachers in their school using the LEAP Framework. This position afforded her the opportunity to focus solely on supporting teachers in becoming more effective in their craft without the other responsibilities that come with being a school leader. Gwen is happy to be working with the Culture, Equity and Leadership Team out of the central office. She believes the work this team does is important and hopes that it will greatly impact the way students are served in the Denver Public Schools.
Patricia Hurrieta brings more than 20 years of extensive, culturally-responsive, inclusive educational leadership experiences to her role. Patricia spent seven years serving as principal at Godsman Elementary School in Denver Public Schools. While at Godsman, Patricia engaged her community in develop and implement an Innovation plan focused on language development and positive school culture. As a result, Godsman achieved Meets Expectations on the School Performance Framework.
Fluent in both English and Spanish, Patricia has always been passionate about education, and has spent time in a variety of school-level roles. Patricia has also served as an assistant principal, an instructional coach, reading specialist and classroom teacher in schools throughout Denver that are both highly diverse, and serve low-income and emerging, bilingual students. As a high school student, Patricia started her career in the Denver Public Schools as a part-time custodian at Kunsmiller Middle School, and she went on to work as a paraprofessional at Bryan-Webster Elementary while she was in college.
Patricia holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and bilingual, multicultural education, as well as a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction. She is also near completion of her Doctor of Education in educational leadership and policy studies.
Program Manager of Training and Employee Development
A native of Colorado, Leslie L. Juniel is passionate about making positive contributions to the community and Denver Public Schools. She believes that we all have an obligation to leave the world a better place than when we found it.
Leslie develops curriculum and facilitates numerous professional development opportunities throughout the district. She also leads Creating Connections and the district-wide New Employee Orientation.
She is an alumna of Denver Public Schools and is proud to represent five living generations of DPS attendees and graduates! Leslie has worked for several companies and organizations in Denver including INROADS, the Rocky Mountain News, YouthBiz, Inc., Girls Incorporated of Metro Denver, Girls Scouts, Mile Hi Council and the Colorado Marrow Donor Program at Bonfils Blood Center.
Leslie studied journalism at Colorado State University, she holds a B.A. in Communications for the University of Colorado at Denver and a Master of Science degree in Organization Leadership from Regis University.
Program Manager of Training and Employee Development
Imani is a Hawaii native that moved to Colorado in 2005 to attend the University of Northern Colorado. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in Communication. She joined Team DPS in 2010, starting as a Health Technician, and also worked as an Office Support and Secretary, before joining the Culture, Equity and Leadership Team as a Project Coordinator.
Away from work, she enjoys watching movies, running (slow but steady), serving her church and community, and family time.
A Colorado native, Melissa is a DPS graduate from John F Kennedy High School. Melissa came to work for DPS almost 6 years ago from the financial institute world of credit unions where she was a branch manager. She comes to the CELT team bringing experience from Teaching and Learning where she was the Project Coordinator who did the logistics for all large scale teacher and school leader professional learning events for the District, and worked with the Educator Development tab in SchoolNet, which tracks all teacher and school leader professional learning.
During Melissa’s time away from work, she enjoys cooking and having “Sunday night dinner on Saturday” with family and friends, reading and going to the movies.
Program Manager of Culturally Responsive Education
Tom is from the East Coast and moved to Denver in December 2015. He grew up in Philadelphia and received his undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University. Tom moved to the Maryland/DC area in 2000 and received his Master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University. For 16 years, Tom worked for Montgomery County Public Schools serving as a teacher in both elementary and middle schools while maintaining various leadership roles including being team leader and department head. He then went on to become a Consulting Teacher, where he supported novice and veteran teachers through coaching, training, observation, and review in order to build capacity and meet teacher standards. Tom is excited to join DPS and the Culture, Equity and Leadership Team to continue supporting staff across the district.
Tom enjoys music, concerts, movies, following politics, reading, traveling, and spending time with his family.
Communication and Program Coordinator
Samantha is a graduate from the University of Colorado at Denver with a degree in Communications and an emphasis in Public Relations. She comes from working in the non-profit sector at Outward Bound USA, where she focused on creating communication around the values of diversity, compassion, integrity, equity and inclusion. Samantha also brings over five years of experience coordinating and marketing professional events in the health and wellness industry.
Samantha is a native of Colorado and enjoys spending time rock climbing in the mountains. When she’s not climbing, you can find her with a book in her hands trying to reach her goal of 30 books a year.
Allen Smith is a Denver, Colorado native and a proud DPS graduate (Go Patriots!). His athletic achievements earned him a scholarship to Eastern Washington University and transferred to Central State University in Ohio playing Division I basketball. He graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communications and a minor in Speech. Allen earned his Master’s in Arts and Education from the University of Denver, and went on to obtain four Principal certifications and two Superintendent certifications from University of Denver, School Leaders of Colorado SUPES Academy and Harvard University.
Allen served as the Principal at Barrett Elementary School in DPS for two and a half years, reducing discipline, increasing enrollment and student achievement, before being named as the Principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College. Allen was named principal of the year in 2008, received the Stellar Education Award, Game Changer in Public Education by A+ Denver and was named “Twenty Top African-American Leaders in Colorado.”
Allen then served for three years as executive director of the Denver Summit Schools Network in Far Northeast Denver. He then joined Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina as a community superintendent, before heading to Oakland, California to serve as Deputy Superintendent/Chief of Schools.
Allen is a married and is a father of three daughters and a son, whom he adopted at age 14. He is an ordained Minister, volunteer in his community and member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He lives his life based on the African Proverb, “You have no more worth than a penniless man, unless you give back on the shoulders by which you stand.”
Executive Coaching Coordinator
Jeff has been supporting urban schools in the Denver area for over fifteen years. He focuses on leadership coaching, strategic change, leadership team development, and helping to build intentional school culture. Over the course of his career, he has been a public official, a private business owner, a university faculty member, and an organizational consultant. He is proud to say that both of his terrific adult age children are graduates of the Denver Public Schools.
Jeff has a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an M.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.
Program Manager of Training and Employee Development
Dr. Hannah Jones moved to Colorado from Wisconsin for graduate school at CU Boulder and received her PhD in Education: Learning Sciences and Human Development, specializing on designing equitable learning environments so that all students can succeed. Her dissertation focused on college access for first generation, low-income, students of color. She has spent the last few years working at CU Boulder, focusing on retention and persistence. During this time, Hannah has also been teaching graduate level courses at DU and CU Denver.
In her free time she likes to lead an active lifestyle. She is a volunteer coach and directs a local HS ultimate frisbee program with over 90 players. Hannah stays active and plays for a club ice hockey team during the winter and for a nationally competitive club ultimate frisbee during the summer.
I’m Hannah Jones, from Wisconsin, and I Play for Team DPS!