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Implementation Team Lead (ITL) Bios:

 

Danielle Harris, Ph.D.

Sr. Program Manager, Culturally Responsive Education, Professional Learning Team

ITL for Culturally Responsive Instruction, Engagement and Communication

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 Northern Colorado, Early Childhood Licensing Program.
In her spare time, Danielle enjoys spending time with her daughters, Jaiden age 19, and Journey age 15, traveling and spending time with family and friends. Jaiden is a graduate of DPS and Journey is a sophomore in DPS, they are the driving force behind the “why” she is so committed to equity work. Danielle wants to ensure that not only her daughters receive a quality experience in DPS, but all students, especially historically marginalized students, have access to the education they deserve.

 

Laura Summers, Ph.D.

Director,  Professional Learning Team

ITL for Culturally Responsive Instruction, Engagement and Communication

Dr. Laura Summers’ career experience includes over 20 years in K-12 education, corporate eLearning, and in higher education. Summers earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Instructional Design at the University of Northern Colorado with a doctoral minor in Applied Research and Statistical Methods where she published a study on the success of twice-exceptional students in an alternative high school program. For over 10 years, Summers has taught at University of Colorado Denver in the Doctor of Education in Leadership for the Educational Equity program, Instructional Learning and Technology department, at the Center of Evaluation, and in the department of Research and Evaluation Methods where she managed a federally-funded research grant focused on developing teachers’ self-efficacy in culturally responsive instructional practices through professional learning and job-embedded coaching.

Summers is now starting her third year in DPS and serves as Director of Professional Learning. Her educational career has been built a transformative professional learning model that emphasizes the importance being a collaborative, reflective practitioner focused on fostering inclusive practices for the success of all students and on measuring for impact in professional learning.

Laura describes herself as a story catcher, city explorer, and beach wanderer. As a qualitative researcher and writer, she listens for stories that others reveal about their lived experiences through portraiture; a qualitative research method which examines “what is good” within an educational experience. One of her favorite quotes written by Marian Wright Edelman is: “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”

 

Caleb Fields

Manager, Teacher Through Leader Talent Acquisition Team

ITL for Equitable Employment Practices and Work Environments

Caleb is the Manager of Teacher Through Leader Talent Acquisition. He is originally from the West Side of Chicago and attended Northwestern University. After college, he played professional baseball for three years and founded a youth sports after-school program called Legacy Sports Camp in the Chicago-land area. Five years ago, he decided to move to Denver because of the innovation in education that the Mile High City offers. Caleb has worked in education since 2009 in various recruitment and campus-based roles; including Assistant Principal at the middle school level and most recently, as the former Director of Teacher and Staff Recruitment at STRIVE Prep Schools. He has a three-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, whom he knows will be directly impacted by the systems and talent employed in the education space. Having consistency in the diversity, quality, and culturally responsiveness of teachers and leaders at the campus level is at the core of his passion for the power of education for young people (particularly those of color).

 

Moe Cantrell

HR Chief of Staff / Senior Manager, Special Projects

ITL for Equitable Employment Practices and Work Environments

Bio coming soon.

 

Bill de la Cruz

Director of Equity and Inclusion, Culture, Equity & Leadership Team

ITL for District and School Structures to Promote Equity

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 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

 

Allen Smith

Chief of Culture, Equity and Leadership Team

ITL for District and School Structures to Promote Equity

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 the 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 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.”

 

Danielle Johnson

Research and Strategy Manager, Division of Secondary Education

ITL for Targeted Supports for Students

Bio coming soon.

 

Rochanda Jackson EdM, MPA

Sr. Manager of Assessment Administration, Department of Accountability, Research and Evaluation

ITL for Targeted Supports for Students

Bio coming soon.

 

Sharon Bailey, Ph.D.

Program Manager of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Culture, Equity & Leadership Team

ITL for Community and Family Resources

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.

 

Plashan McCune, LPC., Ed. D.

Interim Executive Director of Family and Community Engagement: School-Based Services

ITL for Community and Family Resources

Dr. McCune has worked in social service and education as a juvenile detention officer, foster care case manager, mental health therapist, early childhood educator and advisor, teacher, school counselor, and school leader over the past 30 plus years. She is a graduate University of Illinois and National Louis University where she earned her doctorates in Educational Leadership and Superintendent Endorsement. Her most recent experiences in mental health, school counseling and school leadership in four districts and in Student Equity and Opportunity will support her transition to Family and Community Engagement.

Dr. McCune’s priorities are serving others as she moves things forward toward the common goal; these attributes show up at home as a mother of two beautiful girls Faith 21 and Imani 15. She loves spending time with her husband Bernard and wonderful group of friends cooking-trying out new recipes and dancing the calories off. She is also a big fan of traveling the world, both near and far, looking for new experiences.

“I am currently the Interim Executive Director of FACE. I come to this work as a grassroots organizer and the creator/founder of the African American Young Ladies’ Summit. I have a passion for equity and liberation for all people but especially African Americans. I look forward to supporting the movement to bring truth to power.”


Wisdom Team Bios:

Wisdom Team Members from left to right: Trevon Brandhorst, Sharikia Towers­­–Fulcher, Kimberly Desmond, Trena Marsal (Deane), Michael Atkins, William Anderson, Unsuk Zucker, Kinyata Jackson

 Kimberly Desmond

Director, Denver Office on Women & Families

Born in Denver, Kim was raised in the Five Points neighborhood where she attended Manual High School.  She has committed her life to eliminating oppression for marginalized communities by dismantling systemic inequity and structural racism to promote inclusion.  She credits her passion and unwavering commitment for social justice work to her grandmother Annie Reeves, who spoke of being raised in the civil rights era during a time in history where Jim Crow laws codified racism. These stories of triumph, faith, and pursuit for human rights propelled Kim into a lifetime of services devoted to equity. She works under the umbrella of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships (City and County of Denver) as the Director to the Denver Office on Women & Families, in addition to serving as the Staff Liaison to two Mayoral appointed commissions (Denver Women’s Commission and African American Commission). 

 

William Anderson

Teacher Leader at The Manual High School

William Anderson is a Teacher Leader and AVID Site Coordinator at The Manual High School, a doctoral student at UCD, with a Master’s degree from the University of Phoenix, and an undergraduate degree in history from Metropolitan State University of Denver. William has been teaching for 10 years, is a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Teacher Advisory Council 2014-2016, is currently an EDLOC member, and conducts professional development on culturally responsive education and emancipatory practices throughout the state nationally. William’s favorite quote is, “Of all of our studies, history is best qualified for our research.” Malcolm X.

 

Trevon Brandhorst

Regional Coordinator of Academic Training, Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE)

Trevon Brandhorst, proud alumni of the University of Iowa, moved to Denver to serve as an AmeriCorps member in the Denver community. As a former foster youth, Trevon has used his unique experiences and background to remain an engaged and active voice for ensuring equity for our students and families. As a member of the Office of Family and Community Engagement, Trevon has had the opportunity to work with students, families and community members across Denver over the past 5 years.

“I am brought to this work because as a former foster youth who aged out, I understand how important equity and access can be for those with barriers in the way of their success. I want to eliminate those barriers for youth when possible like the mentors and leaders who paved the way to my success.”

Having served on the African-American Equity Task Force Access Committee, Trevon collaborated with colleagues, parents, community members, and partners that resulted in recommendations that specifically targeted removing systemic equity barriers for our students of color. Trevon is excited to have the opportunity to support the implementation of the recommendations in an effort make sure our students of color have the support and opportunities they need to succeed.

 

Trena A. Marsal (Deane)

Executive Director of Facility Management for Denver Public Schools

Mrs. Marsal’s career has spanned over 18 years with DPS and during this time she has served as the Chief of Maintenance Engineering, Director of Operations and Maintenance and currently the Executive Director of Facility Management. Facility Management is responsible and accountable for over 16M square feet of facilities, which includes 226 school programs located in 177 DPS owned facilities. As the second largest landowner in Denver and the largest school district in Colorado, we are educating a population of over 90,000 students and growing! Facility Management employs over 900 employees within Custodial Operations, Maintenance, Planning and Construction, Real Estate, Sustainability. Professional Development, Safety and Community Use Divisions.

Mrs. Marsal holds a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety, Masters of Management and MBA with Human Resources. She serves on the Mayor’s Developers Advisory Council, served as co-chair on the African American Equity Task Force Family and Community Engagement Committee and has served on various committees across the District to support student achievement and the mission of the District. Trena is a mom, a wife, and a dedicated servant to her family and community.

 

Michael Atkins

Principal Resident at Stedman Elementary

Michael Atkins has been a part of this district since he was 4 years old. The halls our current students walk are the same halls that carved the path which allows Michael to lead in Denver Public Schools today. As a result of the Keyes vs District 1 case, Michael was bussed from his home in Park Hill (30th and Newport) to Bromwell Elementary School, then to Hamilton Middle School, and concluded his academic career with the district at East High School. Along his journey, Michael has worn many different hats, including student, custodian, paraprofessional, teacher and now a leader. Each hat offers a unique lens within our district. “I am my experiences and all of these experiences have given me the expertise and assurance that I am ready to apply all of my exposures to the efforts of closing the equity gaps for our current students of color.”

 

Kinyata Jackson

Owner of Remembrance Wellness and Yoga LLC

Kinyata Jackson has maintained a passion for people, particularly children throughout her childhood and adulthood. Kinyata was nurtured in an environment that encouraged equality and equity in the treatment of all people. She developed a desire to take this foundation a step further and allow the lack of justice and equity in society to move her into action. Kinyata has filled both formal and informal roles in the education world for over a decade. As a mother, the fight for justice and equity in education and opportunity for black children and families is one that is close to home. Kinyata was honored to participate in 9to5 Colorado’s Community Internship Program in 2015. She continues her work in the fight toward justice, equity and true social change as a member of Black Child Development Institute Denver Affiliate. She graduated from the ULFC Chamber Connect program 2017 and the 2018 NLC Elevate cohort.

Mrs. Jackson is an active member of the NLC Denver board and serves on the Prenatal, Infant and Toddler Coalition. Kinyata Jackson is the owner of Remembrance Wellness and Yoga LLC, and is a certified 200+Hr Yoga Instructor, Energy Healer, & Yoni Breath Instructor. She enjoys a good book, practicing and teaching yoga and traveling. Kinyata is a proud mother and wife.

 

Sharikia Towers­­–Fulcher

Diversion Officer and Community Liaison, City and County of Denver

Sharikia has approximately 15 years of experience working in Juvenile Justice with the City and County of Denver. As a Diversion Officer / Community Liaison, Sharikia works closely with community and faith-based organizations, schools, and community-based nonprofit organizations to help build stronger communities and strengthen families.

Sharikia is currently a board member of the Steps to Success (nonprofit) which was established approximately two years ago, and serves as a key leader and community board member for the steps to success initiative, which is currently operating in the Montebello and Park Hill Communities. Shariki is a mother of three and has been married to her husband for the past nine years.  Sharikia enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, traveling and being a support to her children who are all involved in youth sport programs.

 

Unsuk Zucker

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at TNTP

UnSuk Zucker is a knowledgeable and experienced diversity, equity, and inclusion leader with demonstrated ability in developing programs and organizational best practices in linguistically and culturally diverse settings using an insightful ability to adapt to surroundings and utilize excellent interpersonal skills to promote collaboration and develop equitable practices with a specialty in leadership development. She is an instructional leader and expert in facilitating training and coaching, particularly in equity/culturally responsive practices, leadership development, professional support in growth, evaluation, coaching/feedback, and educator effectiveness.

Her extensive experience as a classroom teacher, as well as an equity leader, has led her to become passionate in challenging the established systemic structures to raise the achievement of all while tackling the predictability and disproportion of students and staff of color in the highest and lowest achievement categories.  Through the years, she has developed her mission “To instill, to empower, and inspire” all.  It is now her greatest desire to instill the content knowledge through the culturally relevant practices, to empower leaders towards inclusive and equitable outcomes, and to inspire them to continue to foster a life-long love of learning and social justice.

“As a former member of Team DPS, I bring with me the experiences and learning of what it means to be a leader of color within the district (the price of identity, mental/physical health, and repercussions of speaking up). This has led me to develop a deep and passionate commitment to support this equity work and to be a true disrupter of inequitable practices.”


AAETF Support Team Bios:

Leslie L. Juniel

Senior Program Manager of Equity Initiatives, Culture, Equity and Leadership Team

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.

 

Tiffany Gardner

Program Manager of Equity Initiatives, Culture, Equity and Leadership Team

Tiffany Gardner is a native of Denver, Colorado and a proud alumna of George Washington High School. She has worked in Denver Public Schools for 7 years and has broad experience in education as an administrator, dean, project coordinator, and administrative associate. Prior to her transition into education, she worked at the Government Accountability Office as an Auditor where she excelled as well as served as the Director of Recognition with the Association of Government Accountants.

Tiffany holds a B.A in Accounting from Clark Atlanta University (CAU) in Atlanta, Georgia, an M.S. in Sports Management from American Public University in Charles Town, West Virginia, and an Ed.S in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado in Denver, CO.

 

Samantha Silver

Communication and Program Coordinator, Culture, Equity and Leadership Team

Bio coming soon.