Dwight Jones currently serves as Denver Public Schools Senior Deputy Superintendent, Equity and Engagement.
Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President of Equity, Inclusion & Urban Markets at McGraw-Hill Education. In his role, he worked with leading national, regional and local associations and organizations to find new ways to partner together to address the needs of administrators, teachers and students in some of the largest and most academically diverse U.S. school districts.
Before joining McGraw-Hill Education, Dwight served as Discovery Communications’ Superintendent in Residence and provided strategic guidance and advice to the organization’s Education Division.
Prior to that, he served as the superintendent of Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, the nation’s fifth largest school district. During his tenure there, he initiated a school reform agenda designed to raise the academic bar and ensure all of the district’s 315,000 students were prepared for college, a career or the military.
Prior to his time in Nevada, Dwight served as the Colorado Commissioner of Education, overseeing the education of more than 830,000 students across more than 1,700 schools in 178 public school districts. His efforts to revamp state standards, improve accountability and narrow achievement gaps, particularly those related to race and socioeconomic status, have been recognized by governors, legislators and colleagues across the state. He also oversaw the development of the Colorado Growth Model, which depicts the overall achievement of individual schools and districts to administrators, educators and the public and has since been implemented in more than 15 states.
Dwight has been recognized by numerous organizations throughout his career. He has been awarded the AASA Distinguished Service Award (2019), the NAACP’s Heartbeat Award (2013), the Asian Chamber of Commerce Community Achievement Award (2013), Chairman’s Award of Excellence, Nevada Latin Chamber of Commerce (2012), Alumni Fellow for Kansas State University’s College of Education (2011), and Troops to Teachers Hall of Fame (2010).
Dwight and his wife Jenifer are the parents to 3 children and reside in Colorado Springs, CO.
Sharon R. 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, A Journey Full Circle: An Historical Analysis of Keyes v. School District No.1, examined Denver’s struggle to desegregate its public schools from legal, political, and managerial conceptual lenses. She was selected as an associate with the National Center on Public Policy and Higher Education and as a fellow for the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL).
From 1988-1995, she served as an elected member of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education. As a former member of the Denver Public School Board, Dr. Bailey gained valuable and specialized knowledge and expertise in the following areas: early childhood education, public school finance, multicultural education, strategic planning, intergovernmental partnerships, employee contract negotiations, school standards and accountability, educational equity/desegregation law, parent and community involvement. Currently, Dr. Bailey currently works with the school district as the Senior Advisory for Equity Initiatives. Dr. Bailey was primary researcher and author of the qualitative study, An Examination of Student Educator Experiences in Denver Public Schools through the Voices of African American Teachers and Administrators. The findings of her report led to the establishment of the Denver Public Schools African American Equity Task Force. The recommendations of the Task Force now serve as a guide for achieve greater institutional equity for African American students and educators.
Professionally, she has held several administrative positions in higher education and municipal government. From 2001-2004, she was a policy associate for the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE). At WICHE, she researched, analyzed and synthesized higher education policy studies and reports, distributed weekly Policy Alerts to national subscribers, and led the development of a searchable database of state-level policies and resources related to equity. From 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. In the Auditor’s Office, she led collaborative efforts to update the city’s fiscal rules and payroll processes
She has traveled the country and globe organizing conferences and presented papers on multiple issues related to women and families in her leadership role with the International Black Women’s Congress (IBWC). Locally, Dr. Bailey provides research and leadership for the Colorado Black Round Table (CBRT) in their efforts to educate the Colorado community regarding racial disparities in education, health, criminal justice and economic well-being.
Dr. Bailey is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions including induction into the Colorado Association of School Board’s Hall of Fame. She has received the National Organization for Black Elected Officials (NOBEL Women) Pillar of Leadership Award, Colorado Black Women for Political Action’s (CBWPA) award for Community Service, and the National Council of Negro Women, Denver Chapter’s Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Award. In 2005, she received the “Legacy of Service” award from Princeton University. Dr. Bailey received one of her highest honors when she was recognized by the Council of Great City Schools for her contributions to urban education in 2016.
Dr. Bailey and her husband John have three adult sons and five grandchildren.
Alece Herlinda Marie Montez is named after 3 of her grandmothers, a Colorado native, and product of our amazing public schools. She was a teen mom and the first in her family to go to college which taught her at an early age how to advocate for herself. That’s where she found her passion for making sure all voices were heard. Since then, Alece has leveraged her career positions to change processes, create tools, and impact systems to ensure community decisions were guided by the broader community.
Prior to coming to Denver Public Schools, Alece worked as an Urban Planner for cities and counties, and Air Force bases, and as a community engagement expert at a foundation. Through unique partnerships with the community at local cities, Alece helped change land use and zoning codes by listening to, working with, and responding to the people. This helped shape her work at the Orton Family Foundation, where Alece was instrumental in developing the Community Heart & Soul® model, a community driven process that ensures actions are rooted in what matters most to everyone. The process uses storytelling tools to ensure engagement happens across and between demographic groups; people listen to each other, learning about their similarities and differences, building empathy for one another. There are over one hundred towns across the U.S. that have used Heart & Soul and they are seeing benefits like improved local economies, strengthened relationships across historic divides, and increased trust and ownership over local decisions.
Alece has a Bachelor degree in Environmental Design, Urban and Regional Planning, and two minors, Sustainable Environments and Human Geography, and a Masters degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Environmental Policy, Management, and Law. Because of her fresh perspective in how engagement works, she’s received honors and awards from organizations like the American Planning Association, International Association for Public Participation, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Community Development Society, Air Mobility Command, and the Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence. She was a member of the Placemaking Leadership Council, United States Green Building Council, American Planning Association, Colorado Funders for Inclusiveness and Equity (COFIE), and a graduate of The Funders Network, Professionals Learning About Community Equity and Smart Growth (PLACES) fellowship class of 2013. Prior to coming to the District, Alece sat on numerous boards and committees such as The Funders Network, COFIE, PLACES, Aspen Institute’s Rural Development Innovation Group, and Philanthropy Colorado.
Dr. Polly Ortiz Lutz is a seasoned educational leader whose career has spanned 30 years. She was the Special Education Director, Assistant Director and Section 504 Compliance Officer for Jefferson County Public Schools (JEFFCO) in Colorado for two decades. JEFFCO has 85,000 students and more than 9,000 students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs). Teams report that Polly always keeps children and youth at the center of her work.
Parents, school staff and advocates appreciate her training as a licensed school psychologist and her passion and enthusiasm for every student. Polly holds a BS from the University of Oklahoma, a MS from the University of Northern Colorado and earned a PhD from the University of Denver. She has worked in administrative, teaching and clinical positions in public schools, universities, hospital/clinics, federal government programs and private practice. Trained as a mediator through the Colorado Bar Association, she has been a mediator for the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). Polly encourages positive relationships; empowers both school teams and parents and embraces families as true partners in education.
Polly is excited about the opportunity to support DPS students, school teams and families. She has roots in Denver. Her father owned a neighborhood pharmacy on 38th and Clay in north Denver for 40 years.
A native of Colorado, Leslie L. Juniel is passionate about making positive contributions to the community. She is a part of a large family whose history and legacy are deeply rooted in the Denver community and knows she has an obligation to leave the world a better place than how she found it.
In her professional life, Leslie is Executive Director on the Culture, Equity and Leadership Team in Denver Public Schools, where she has been employed for over 12 years. She currently leads her team in the implementation of the Black Excellence Resolution and other equity initiatives. Prior to this role, Leslie was Senior Program Manager of Equity Initiatives on the same team.
Leslie is an alumna of Denver Public Schools 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.
Leslie participates in many community programs and events. She is an alumna of INROADS, Inc., the African-American Leadership Institute, Leadership Denver and Future Black Women Leaders of Colorado, Center for Progressive Leadership, and is past president of the Foundation for the Next Frontier. Leslie led the ‘re-birth’ of the annual Juneteenth Celebrations in Denver from 2008 to 2011. She previously sat on the board of directors of Colorado High School Charter and Colorado Black Women for Political Action.
Leslie believes her greatest community contribution to date has been creator and coordinator of the Sistah Pride Girls’ Empowerment Program, an annual, state-wide program hosted by the African-American Leadership Institute, which brought women and girls together to dialogue about education, careers, and making smart life choices and decisions. She continues to live her passion of working with youth by mentoring students in DPS.
Leslie enjoys public speaking and has volunteered her time to support several non-profit organizations as their emcee and/or the keynote speaker. These organizations include: Family Tree, Friends First, INROADS, Colorado Mentoring Summit and the Overcomer Women’s Empowerment Conference.
She also volunteers her time to facilitate personal and professional adult learning and training for organizations including Ready, Set, College, Denver Technical Professionals, Friends First, INROADS, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Denver Quality After-School Connection, (DQUAC) and the National School Nutrition Association.
Leslie studied journalism at Colorado State University, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Master of Science degree in Organization Leadership from Regis University.
Nothing is more important to Leslie than her large, close-knit family. Her greatest life accomplishment is being the proud mother of one daughter, and grandmother to her grandson and three granddaughters.
Heather Intres is a proud native of Las Cruces, New Mexico where her love for arts and culture was deeply embedded from an early age. A product of a vigorous performing arts training program, she believes fervently in the impact of afterschool programs, trusted adults, and the social emotional benefits of out-of-school time opportunities for all youth. Heather is committed to quality programming for students, and knows that after school is not and after thought.
The common thread throughout Heather’s career has been serving youth and families. After graduating from TCU, Heather began her career in the pediatric physical therapy field in Dallas, TX. Her next adventure (and husband) took her to Jonesboro, AR, where she led an inclusive visual and performing arts program with the Foundation of Arts. Heather choreographed and directed many ballet and musical theater productions and ultimately served as the Education Director for the largest arts education organization in the region. Heather continued her career arts education with Ballet Chicago as a faculty instructor.
Upon moving to Colorado, Heather was thrilled to serve as the Education Program Manager for the Children’s Museum of Denver. During this time, Heather created the “How We Play” initiative that was the foundation for inclusion of youth with special needs throughout the city’s cultural institutions.
Heather came to DPS in 2013 to manage community partnerships for the District and support the work of the Denver Afterschool Alliance and the Denver Quality Afterschool Connection. Through lasting relationships with the Office of Children’s Affairs and the 500+ community partners who support Denver’s kids, Heather has helped to build a system of collaboration and opportunity for Denver’s youth and families. Heather is excited to serve as the Executive Director of Extended Learning and Community Schools as the District embarks upon a re-imagining of what school and afterschool programs can look like.
Rose Marie McGuire is the Senior Manager of the Native American Culture and Education Department (NACE.) Rose had been with in her current position at NACE since 2000, and prior to that she was a school nurse with DPS. She grew up on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation in South Dakota. After graduating from Boston University with a BS degree in education, she moved to Colorado where she established and directed the Circle of Learning preschool for Native American children at the Denver Indian Center Inc.
At the same time that Rose was promoting the Circle of Learning preschool, she continued her education, earning a BS degree in Nursing and Nurse Practitioners from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She subsequently studied at the University of Denver, earning a Master of Arts degree in Native American Studies. Throughout her career, Rose’s goal has been to obtain the knowledge and credentials to work with her people, particularly young Native students, and to inspire the next generations of Native Americans to achieve a good education and satisfying employment. An important part of that inspiration is to encourage Native students to embrace and take pride in their cultural identity. To support this, Rose instituted (in 2012) Lakota language course and continues to promote a Native languages at DPS.
To achieve these goals, Rose has been involved with the Native American Community both locally and nationally. Presently, as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Denver Indian Center Inc., she has achieved success in physical renovations to the building and also in expanding culturally relevant programs. Her connections and memberships with broader Native American organizations such as the National Indian Education Association and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, have helped advocate for Native people in education, health and youth voices on a national level. As an example, the Colorado State University Native STEM project connects with Native high school students and encourages them to follow STEM studies; this project grew from an effort that Rose initiated with the CSU Native Culture Center.
Rose and her husband Robin have two grown sons and one granddaughter.
Laney Shaler is the Chief of Staff for the Equity & Engagement Divison in Denver Public Schools (DPS). In this role, she supports the Senior Deputy Superintended of Equity & Engagement and the broader Division, which includes our Culture Equity and Leadership Team, Student Equity & Opportunity, Family and Community Engagement, and our Extended Learning and Community Schools Departments. Before this role with DPS, she served as the Director of Teacher Pathways & Development in which her team led Denver’s district-wide efforts to establish and expand the continuum of preservice through early career teacher support so that teachers can get better faster and stay longer. Laney’s past experiences include strengthening Denver’s talent pipelines through collaboration with various stakeholders to develop human capital structures as part of the Talent Management team and serving in various academic leadership positions to improve opportunities for teachers to grow their skills in cultivating rigorous, supportive environments for students.
Laney has an extensive background in education – from practice to policy. She began her career as an early childhood and elementary teacher with Denver Public Schools and was initially drawn to education and public service because of her strong belief that every individual has the right to a high-quality education so that they can achieve the dreams they have for themselves. Having been raised by a single mom who worked three jobs, and as the first in her family to attend college, Laney’s personal experience drives her every day. Her life’s passion is to ensure all children have equitable access to opportunity.
Laney earned a BA in economics and international relations from Lake Forest College, and an MPP from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. She is also a graduate of The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems residency program where she earned her Masters in Educational Leadership.