Another reorganization at DPS – here’s hoping this one has better results

OK – I am including the link to the actual chart because my technical skills are lacking –   But I am also listing the newest reorg personnel of what used to be OSRI – Office of School Reform and Innovation which used to be something else (which I can’t remember). Alyssa Whitehead-Bust is still the Chief and following this list/chart you will find her email explaining why and how this is better and why and how the results for children and employees will be better.  I do hope someone can find out how much these 50+ administrators are costing taxpayers. And as the year ends, let’s not forget to hold each and every one of them accountable for whatever “reform” we are on to now. Excuse the sarcasm, but it seems that so far adding more layers of administration has only had a negative effect on morale and education in DPS.  Chaos, churn.

Academic and Innovation Office Organizational Structure

1. Executive Director Innovation and Strategy (PeterPiccolo)
2. Executive Director Student Services John Simmons
3. Director Strategic Initiatives (Josh Drake)
4. Director Operations (Tom O’Keefe)
5. Director Special Education (Dianne Richardson)
6. Director.Social Emotional Learning (Eldridge Greer)
7. Director.Early Childhood Education (Cheryl Caldwell)
8. Director Gifted & Talented (Rebecca McKinney)
9 .Director Related & Support Services (John Liberatore)
10. Director ESEA Title Programs (Veronica Bradsby)
11. Executive Director
Academic Achievement of English Learners
Darlene LeDoux
12. Director Strategic Initiatives (Jorge Robles)
13. Director Leadership & Management (CJ Grace)
14. Director Quality Assurance (Elena Sodano)
15. Director Instructional Practices (Christine Muldoon)
Chief Academic and Innovation Officer
Alyssa Whitehead-Bust
16. Director of Formative Assessment and Data Driven Instruction
(Jessica Long)
17. Executive Director, Personalized Learning (Cheri Wrench)
18. Director, Academic Product Mgt. (Megan Marquez)
19. Director, Library Services (Vacant)
20.Director, Educational Technology (Kirk Anderson)
21. DirectorExtended Learning & Community Schools
(Katherine Plog-Martinez)
22. Director of Professional Personalized Learning
(Ben Wilkoff)
23. Director Competency Based Learning (Vacant)
24. Executive Director Portfolio Management (Vacant)
25.Executive Director Accountability, Research & Evaluation
Grant Guyer
26.Director of Assessment (Kristen Maxey-Moore)
27.Senior Program Manager of Strategic Planning(Jenny Mills)
28.Program Effectiveness Manager (Rob Jakubowski)
29.Accountability Manager (Maegan Daigler)
30.Reporting & Analysis Manager (Yu-Lu Hsiung )
31.Student Outcomes Manager (Karen Herbert)
32.Deputy Chief of Academics (Vacant)
33. Sr. Director,Imaginarium (Makisha Boothe)
34. Director Design & Prototype (Vacant)
35. Director Pilot to Scale (Laura Petty)
36.Director Ecosystem Redesign (Katherine Casey)
37.Sr. Director Organizational Excellence (Vacant)
38.Deputy Director Ops. & Performance Mgt. Jean DeLaMata
39.Communications Manager Mark Poshak
40.Executive Director Professional Learning (Devin Fletcher, Interim) (Vacant)
41.Director Peer Observers (Tonia Shook)
42.Director Peer Observers (Prudence Daniel)
43.Director Educator Development & Leadership(Theress Pidick)
44.Executive Director Curriculum and Instruction (Devin Fletcher, Interim) (Vacant)
45.Director of Math (Cathy Martin)
46.Director of Math Fellows Tim Johnson
47.Director of Arts and PE (Capucine Chapman)
48.Dir of Secondary Language and Literacy(Vacant)
49.Dir of Elementary Language and Literacy Vacant)
50. Director of Science,
51.Social Studies & World Languages (Susan Olezene)
52.Director Secondary School Supports (Colleen O’Brien)
53. Director Elementary School Supports (Stacey Paulson)
54.DirectorELA School Supports (Martha Loera-Olivas
55.Director, School Development (Jennifer Holladay)
56.Director Quality Assurance & Accountability (Maya Lagana)

Dear AIO colleagues.

As we enter the final months of the 2014-2015 school year, I write to you with gratitude for the opportunity to work with this Academic and Innovation Office team, full of talented and passionate people who bring their best to work every day on behalf of students. Thank you for your commitment to the youth of Denver. I have never been more optimistic about the future of our team and DPS, as I firmly believe we are on the cusp of becoming the first urban district in the nation to fulfill the promise that all students, regardless of their zip code or native language, can succeed. Fulfilling this promise will not be easy – it will require all of us to think and act boldly together – but I am confident our team will discover the best ways of serving educators, school leaders and students.

Since the fall of 2014, our team has been working in partnership with the Chief Schools Office (CSO) and Human Resources to develop an Academic Supports Strategic Plan. Motivated by the Denver Plan 2020 and the findings of the Council on Great City School’s report, this plan will serve as a guide for equipping educators and school leadership teams to ensure that schools receive the supports necessary to provide all students in DPS a highly personalized, standards-based learning experience that prepares them for success. We envision vital and lively classrooms throughout Denver in which students are challenged to think critically, creatively and deeply. The strategic plan lays out the clear goals, strategies, actions and outcomes to help us achieve that vision and reach the Denver Plan 2020 goals. We are in the final phase of developing the plan, which will be released in April.
We Listened!
As part of my transition into this role I created a 105-day listening tour to learn more about you and your work and how we can better support the work between teachers and students in the district. Throughout the strategic planning process, more structured feedback opportunities have been provided to over 600 people, including AIO and CSO colleagues, teachers and school leaders, and both local and national experts. I recently sent an update on the process, which you can read by clicking here . The feedback I heard was invaluable as it helped identify opportunities to grow as a team.
Organizational Changes
One of the key components that has emerged from this strategic planning is that our team structure limits our support to classrooms. This means that we will be realigning our team to better support our schools and networks to improve how students learn and how teachers teach. Combined with efforts to establish clearer decision-making and accountability and to leverage a distributed leadership model, I believe we are taking the necessary steps to best support our schools.
I want to highlight a few of the changes in the new structure:
A Deputy Chief of Academics will be hired to lead Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Learning, Personalized Learning and Data Driven Instruction. The Deputy will drive coherence across these bodies of work in support of implementing standards and providing better aligned support to schools. We will recruit for this position after spring break.
A new Professional Learning team will bring more coherence to our adult learning supports. This new team is responsible for cultivating the capacity of educators, school leaders and school leadership teams, particularly in the areas of standards-based instruction. A new Executive Director of Professional Learning will lead this team. We will recruit for this position after spring break.
While the essential functions of the Interdisciplinary team will continue, we will be integrating the work of this team into other teams where needed. The title “Interdisciplinary Learning” will be no longer be used as of this announcement. A new team, the Personalized Learning Team, with an Executive Director of Personalized Learning, will be launched to ensure central office has the capacity to support an increasing number of schools that are implementing personalized learning approaches. Arts and Physical Education staff will transition from Interdisciplinary Learning to the Curriculum and Instruction team for aligned academic supports.
An Organizational Excellence Team will be launched, which will support timely, data-driven decision-making, and continuous improvement and accountability processes across AIO. The team will also improve communication within our team and with external stakeholders, particularly in support of key components of the strategic plan such as standards implementation and personalized learning. Finally, the team will ensure human resource and financial management processes are executed with excellence across the AIO.
The work of the Office of School Supports will be integrated into the Professional Learning team and the Curriculum and Instruction team. The Office of School Supports will continue to work with schools through the remainder of this school year, but will be rolled into these teams on June 30.
The title of Office of School Reform and Innovation or OSRI will no longer be used as of this announcement. However, the work of OSRI will continue and receive greater focus from the two teams that previously comprised OSRI, the Portfolio Management Team and the Innovation team, which includes the imaginarium, DPS’ Innovation Lab.
We will be working with Susana’s CSO team to equip our network partners and structures to provide the best support for schools. Details on the network structure will be released in April.
Organizational Chart
Click here to view the new organizational chart, which details the AIO and its core leadership team. Please see your Executive Director for your team’s specific changes and organizational chart. While we do not anticipate additional changes to the Executive Director leadership structure, all team leaders are responsible for organizing and building the capacity of their teams. As we implement the strategic Plan this spring, Executive Directors and other team leaders will continue to assess the structure and makeup of their teams to ensure they are best positioned to deliver the highest quality supports to schools and educators.

Moving Forward
Organizational change naturally prompts questions. I want to be certain you receive answers to all your questions as soon as possible. There are three different options find more information:
Tomorrow morning I will be hosting a conference call for anyone who would like to participate. The dial-in information can be found at the bottom of this email.
For additional details on our new team structure, please view our FAQ by clicking here.
Executive Directors have been involved in the decision-making process and are fully up-to-speed on these changes so do not hesitate to reach out to them.

Helpful Information
AIO Organizational Change Resources
Organizational Chart

· Coffee Chat with Alyssa Whitehead-Bust
Friday, March 27
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Dial-in Number: (712) 775-7031
Meeting ID: 197-040-823

Finally, a special thank you to the Executive Directors who have all embraced this opportunity to lead change, who spoke with candor to me and each other, and who thought deeply about the structure and health of our team.

Together we can, and will, ensure that Every Child Succeeds.

All the best,

Alyssa Whitehead-Bust
Chief Academic and Innovation Officer

15 thoughts on “Another reorganization at DPS – here’s hoping this one has better results

  1. It’s interesting to see which positions are vacant; library services, academics, literacy…but not assessment and data driven instruction. I think this is what happens to the principals who are allowed 2 years at a school. They are replaced, their schools are destabilized and another administrative title is created.


    • I noticed the same thing about the vacancies. I do want to know salaries of all of these “Directors” and I do want to know why this will make the slightest difference. As far as I can tell money to administrators – or bankers and lawyers – is money out of the classroom. Not really helping kids at all.


      • Guarantee…those Director salaries average a couple grand either side of 90k. This figure is not a guess.
        I recently met with a friend and colleague from DPS, newly hired a year or so ago. PhD – incredibly intelligent and vibrant individual with a passion for kids. One year and she’s beside herself with stress over being micromanaged, scrutinized, reprimanded for doing her job her way…the list goes on. Individual thinkers who truly put “Students First” and use “Integrity” as more than just a fun word to toss around have no place in DPS.


  2. This is eyewash for the public because it suggests that all students are being treated equally. How can that be if, for example, Lincoln High School is 95% Latino? That is in violation of the original court order in 1974 and re-stated again in 1995 that DPS must confront racial segregation. Instead of that occurring, the shame of racial re-segregation is the ongoing reality as detailed in the 2006 Harvard Civil Rights Study Project, Denver Public Schools: Re-segregation, Latino Style. If each student had equity in DPS, that report wouldn’t have been published. Nor, would it have been ignored, first by now U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (then DPS Superintendent), now Superintendent Tom Boasberg and by each subsequent DPS Board of Education since 2006. As a retired DPS teacher, I witnessed widespread inequity due to racial segregation when I began teaching at Manual High School in 1968. When I retired in 2000, DPS was returning to its persistent segregated housing pattern. No “education reform” has remedied that inequity. Does DPS have a plan?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this and it is only one half of the district’s organization. A really critical question is how these positions relate to the Instructional Superintendents (and how many of IS’s are there?) and whether schools that are not under turnaround can choose to have district services or just get the funds directly and decide how to use them. I’m not sure this restructure of central office is that much different than what has been before under the last 4 to 5 Superintendents in terms of number of positions (I’m not saying that is good) but it is just another reshuffling that does make more sense than the last organization which had all sorts of problems in terms of the left hand knowing what the right hand was doing. I think we still have a huge problem on that front in the district. It would also be helpful to know how many positions are funded by grants vs. the general fund.


  4. You folks are asking many of the right questions. At the same time, you really don’t know how deep this smokescreen/BS runs and how bad things really are.


  5. Love your blogs. As a parent of two DPS students and a professor of education with a PhD in education from UCLA I’ve found the DPS system to not only be -ist in so many ways (despite the few teachers who are making a difference) I find the entire GT identification process to be a racist segregationist process


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