‣ Adjunct Professor at both Manhattan College and Russell Sage College
‣ Learning Facilitator at Harvard University Graduate School of Education
‣ Superintendent of Denver Public Schools
‣ Recipient of Dr. Dwight Jones Courageous Superintendent Award from the Institute For Education Innovation
Dr. Alex Marrero is the Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, the largest school district in the state of Colorado. As Superintendent of DPS, Dr. Marrero is responsible for a 1.28 billion dollar budget which supports nearly 90,000 students,13,000 staff, and more than 200 schools.
During his time leading DPS Dr. Marrero has a number of notable accomplishments, including the adoption of a community driven strategic plan. Under Dr. Marrero’s leadership DPS came to agreements with all Union bargaining groups and created a path to ensure the minimum wage for each employee is $20 per hour by 2025.
Academic success has also increased during his tenure leading DPS as 8 schools were removed from the state accountability clock and the graduation rate for Denver Public Schools has increased by 2.5%, the highest it has ever been in Denver Public Schools.
Prior to leading Denver Public Schools, Alex served the City School District of New Rochelle originally as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, before being appointed as head of the city’s school system, serving as acting and then interim superintendent. Prior to that he served as Assistant Superintendent at East Ramapo Central School District. Dr. Marreo began his career in education working in various roles including counselor, athletic director, assistant principal, and principal for the New York City Department of Education.
Dr. Marrero has also worked in higher education as a Learning Facilitator for the Harvard University Graduate School of Education as well as an Adjunct Professor at both Manhattan College and Russell Sage College.
In 2022, Dr. Marrero received the inaugural “Dr. Dwight Jones Courageous Superintendent Award” from the Institute For Education Innovation. He has also been honored as an outstanding administrator by the Latino Caucus of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators and inducted into the New York Academy of Public Education. He received a Leadership and Excellence in Education Award from the Association of Dominican-American Supervisors and Administrators and was recognized as the national Administrator of the Year by the Association for Latino Administrators and Superintendents, where he currently serves as President Elect. Dr. Marrero has also served as a panelist at the White House at a summit on Air Quality in Schools. Both the National Schools Public Relations Association and K12dive.com named him a Superintendent to Watch in 2023.
EDquity (When Equity meets Education)
BY Prof. Alex Marrero
This keynote address delves deep into the pervasive inequities within the education system, juxtaposed against the thought-provoking ideals encapsulated in the quote:
“We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do this. Whether we do it or not must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we have not done it so far.”
– Ron Edwards
The focal point of the presentation will be the exploration of the existing disparities in education by emphasizing the agency that lies within the educational community to address these inequities.
Ultimately, this presentation seeks to inspire attendees to critically evaluate the state of education, challenge preconceived notions, and foster a renewed sense of urgency to rectify the inequities that persist. By acknowledging the agency we possess to effect change and channeling the ideals of the quote into tangible actions, we can pave the way for a more equitable and inclusive education system that empowers every student to thrive.
In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and changing societal landscapes, the lack of innovation in education has become a growing concern. Drawing parallels to the film “Moneyball,” where a baseball team revolutionizes their approach to the game using data and analytics, this keynote sheds light on the stagnation within the education system and explores the potential for a transformative paradigm shift.
This presentation delves into the current state of education, examining the traditional methods and practices that have remained largely unchanged for decades. It contrasts this status quo with the innovative strategies employed by the baseball team depicted in “Moneyball,” which challenges conventional wisdom and redefines success through data-driven decision-making.
By analyzing the parallels between the education system and the baseball industry, we uncover key insights into the reasons behind the lack of innovation in education.
The goal of this presentation is to challenge the prevalent inertia in the education system and spark a dialogue about the urgency of embracing innovation to meet the evolving needs of students and prepare them for a dynamic future.
Often, organizations that manage change successfully focus on revealing what needs to be changed. Once people respond emotionally to the lessons and insights, their emotional reactions propel them into action. They see, then feel, then change.
To help people leap to change, the masterclass will touch on the following points:
1. Help people see the need for change with compelling, eye-catching dramatic situations to visualize problems and solutions.
2. Let people feel as if they are struck by the reality of their situation and feel the need to act.
3. Let people take their emotionally charged ideas into action (Kotter, 1996).
The above process details the importance of preparing people for change, instead of imposing a change in a short timeframe.
The change process is derived from “The Heart of Change” (Kotter, 2002), which describes change as an eight-step process that few handle well.
1. Create a sense of urgency so that people start telling each other “Let’s go,we need to change things!”
2. Pull together a guiding team powerful enough to guide a big change.
3. Create clear, simple, uplifting visions and sets of strategies.
4. Communicate the vision through simple, heartfelt messages sent through multiple channels
so that people begin to buy into the change.
5. Empower people by removing obstacles to the vision.
6. Create short-term wins that provide momentum.
7. Maintain momentum so that wave after wave of change is possible.
8. Make change stick by nurturing a new culture (Kotter, 2002, p.7).
Student Voice and Leadership in our School Systems
BY Prof. Alex Marrero
As our world is in a constant state of change, our students are experiencing almost immediate change – think it, imagine it, and the change occurs. As classroom leaders, we need to be
responsive to the voices (heard and unheard) of the students in our classrooms and in our school in order to respond and provide the necessary support. We also must be equipped and invested in developing student voices in service of action and agency in our world.
This session will explore the various forms of student voice from the building level to the district level including the district’s Student Voice and Leadership programming and the Superintendent’s Student Cabinet. The programming students engage in is designed to build their understanding of meaningful civic engagement and develops their individual and collective agency to advocate for what they need most. The Superintendent Student Cabinet is a mechanism through which students take their learning and experience and advocate directly to the Superintendent and his team to enact change.
This session will unpack these critical questions:
‣ How can we meaningfully engage students in the strategic direction of the district?
‣ How can we develop student voice to be heard in our world full of various noises and
‣ How can we build up our youth now to be ready to lead a complex and ever changing