Denver Public Schools announces superintendent finalist, culminating months long search

Posted at 10:15 AM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 19:46:29-04

DENVER — Denver Public Schools officials on Wednesday announced Alex Marrero, an assistant superintendent from a district in New York, as their superintendent finalist, culminating a monthslong search to find a permanent leader for Colorado's largest school district.

Marrero comes from New Rochelle, N.Y., north of New York City.

Denver school board president Carrie Olson announced that the district has entered contract negotiations with Marrero and that board officials are excited to officially approve his appointment as superintendent by June 3.

Marrero emphasized the importance of equity in education, saying he and his family had to overcome burdens when he was a boy.

"So to those across Denver, this is testament that when there is a will, a commitment from educators, there is a way to ensure you overcome," Marrero said.

Marrero said he'll make sure no student "gets lost in the system," a fear of his when he was growing up in New York City.

The incoming superintendent outlined his focus on removing obstacles and performance gaps for students, giving students feedback along the way and making sure students' voices are heard across the district.

When asked about concerns that Marrero isn't from the Denver area, Olson emphasized Marrero's experience as a multi-lingual learner and said the board believes he'll inspire students to reach their potential and "be seen and heard for who they are."

Marrero said he welcomes the skepticism.

"It keeps me sharp," Marrero said.

Andre Wright, the chief academic officer for Aurora Public School, and Stephanie Soliven, an assistant superintendent from Brevard County in Florida, were the other two finalists. The three finalists were selected from a pool of 85 applicants. About 20 interviewed with the district, and 15 interviewed with the board of education.

Denver had been on the search for a superintendent for months, following the departure last semester of Susana Cordova, who took an assistant superintendent job with the Dallas Independent School District in Texas.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association, the union for Denver teachers, released a statement in support of the Marrero selection:

"We are supportive of the DPS Board’s decision to select Dr. Alex Marrero as the new superintendent of Denver Public Schools and look forward to partnering with Dr. Marrero to equitably address the needs of our students, educators and community members. Additionally, we are optimistic that the superintendent and the DPS School Board will work with us to dismantle systematic racism within education as a whole.”