By Christine DeLeon, Dr. Janet Lopez, Nicholas Martinez, Veronica Palmer, and Wisdom Amouzou

As members of the only national community of leaders comprised predominantly of people of color in education, we urge the Denver Public Schools Board of Education to provide a forum to maximize community engagement in choosing the next Superintendent. Lack of engagement with and opportunities to authentically interact, face to face, with Superintendent finalists prevents communities from informing the vision and priorities of their schools and systems.

We see the visible community engagement that has been a part of the Board’s selection process, and until the Board acts to foster dialogue between the community and Superintendent candidates, the process will remain inadequate.

The Denver Public Schools community is filled with families who have ambitious hopes and dreams for their children. They deserve an opportunity to assess the future superintendent’s commitment to making those dreams come true, for all students, in all schools.

This is especially important now, as new data has shown that achievement gaps in Denver are among the biggest in the nation between white and Latino students1, and severe achievement disparities among students with disabilities persist along racial lines.2

Addressing these challenges requires a superintendent who believes in the potential of every child and understands that families play a critical role in the educational success of their children. And, it requires a leader who recognizes that great teachers must be supported, cultivated, and placed with the students that need them most.

The decision about which of the superintendent candidates is most committed to these values should not be made behind closed doors. That’s why, as a coalition of diverse educators and leaders, we urge you to provide a forum so that the families and communities who are directly affected have the opportunity to ask questions and hear directly from the finalists. Families and communities deserve a voice in the process of selecting the leader who will ultimately control the destiny of their schools.

1 Large Achievement Gaps in Denver Highlighted by New National Test Data

2 Denver, Boulder Schools Home To the State’s Largest Achievement Gaps Based on Race, New Data Shows

Christine DeLeon is Founder and CEO of Moonshot edVentures

Dr. Janet Lopez is a Senior Program Officer at Rose Community Foundation

Nicholas Martinez is a Co-Founder of Transform Education Now

Veronica Palmer is Co-Founder and CEO of RISE Colorado

Wisdom Amouzou is Executive Director of Empower Community High School

All are members of Education Leader of Color, a national membership network of educators of color and call the Denver metro area home.