DPS Equity and Engagement Division Focuses on Equitable Outcomes for Students and Staff

As we move forward with the three priorities of equity, instructional excellence and collaborative teamwork as our main areas of focus for Denver Public Schools, we continue to look at where we can best align efforts to achieve greater impact.

Our Equity and Engagement Division aims to do just that. The newly structured division brings together the following bodies of work:

  • Equity and Culture, led by Leslie L. Juniel, is tasked with ensuring that the Shared Core Values, with a specific emphasis on equity, are at the center of Denver Public Schools’ policies and practices, as well continuing efforts to strengthen student voice and build a strong culture throughout DPS.
  • Family and Community Engagement (FACE), led by Alece Montez, will continue its mission to provide access to resources, information, education and support for everyone in the DPS community at any point in their journey. 
  • Student Equity and Opportunity (SEO), led by Deborah Staten, will continue to provide services including special education, Whole Child supports, 504 accommodations, mental health, social work, school nurses, gifted education, Title programs and more to our schools, students and families.

Working together, the Equity and Engagement Division will empower, equip and hold all schools and departments accountable to make significant progress on equitable outcomes for our students. 

Equity Office Leadership Bios

Leslie L. Juniel, Executive Director of Equity and Culture

A Denver native and alumnae of Montbello High School, Leslie L. Juniel brings professional knowledge, personal experience and a community voice to her role as Executive Director of Equity and Culture. Leslie previously served as Senior Program Manager of Equity Initiatives on the Culture, Equity and Leadership Team where she led the implementation of African-American Equity Task Force recommendations and other equity initiatives. She also served as Manager of Training and Employee Development. Leslie is an alumna of DPS (Montbello Warriors) and is proud to represent five generations of DPS attendees and graduates! Leslie has also worked for INROADS, Inc., 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.

Deborah Staten, Executive Director of Student Equity and Opportunity

A Denver native, Deborah graduated from our own Thomas Jefferson High School. She served as the principal of Contemporary Learning Academy from 2011-13 and has been an instructional superintendent for the Pathways Network since 2014.

Alece Montez, Associate Chief of Family and Community Engagement 

Alece has spent the last ten years working with the Orton Family Foundation on building stronger, healthier and more economically vibrant communities, with a specific focus on activating diverse voices in the community. Alece is passionate about drawing out the voices that are traditionally under-represented. Throughout her career, she has led trainings and pushed conversations related to equity and inclusion with team members, funders and community members.