New leaders in academics, curriculum, human resources, communications for DPS

Before the next school year starts, Denver Public Schools will have new chiefs of communications and human resources and new administrators in charge of academics, curriculum.

Jill Hawley, who was associate commissioner at the Colorado Department of Education, will be the district’s new deputy chief of academics. Devin Fletcher, who has been the district’s interim Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, will take on the role as a permanent position. And Kelly Kovacic, a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education who previously led the Preuss School and served on a state advisory commission on charter schools in California, will be the district’s new director of portfolio.

Those posts in the district’s Academic and Innovation Office were vacant as of a restructuring in this spring. Hawley, Fletcher, and Kovacic are taking the reins as the district has just issued a new strategic plan and is planning to revamp its approach toward working with schools by allowing principals to “opt in” rather than “opt out” of district services, including curriculum.

Nancy Mitchell, currently the Director of Strategy and Policy Communications, will be the district’s new Chief Communications Officer. She is replacing Maureen Harper, who came to DPS from Cleveland in late 2014. Mitchell is a former journalist who wrote for the Rocky Mountain News and served as the editor of EdNews Colorado, Chalkbeat’s predecessor.

Shayne Spalten, the district’s Chief Human Resource Officer, will be leaving her post at the end of July. The district is still recruiting a new director.