Girl Scout and Denver Public Schools Superintendent
“We are capable of so much if we don’t let fear take over,” Susana Cordova, Superintendent of Denver Public Schools says.
Being outside of our comfort zone, trying something new – these are the times when we grow. And these are the times when we’re ‘taking the lead,’ Susana says. These are also key components of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and something Susana loved about being a Girl Scout when she was in elementary schoo
“I loved earning badges and trying new things,” she says. She remembers fondly going to sleep-away camp at Flying G. “This was a completely new experience for me. It gave me the chance to ride horses, meet girls from all over Colorado and learn campfire songs that I sang to my own children—’Sarasponda, sarasponda, sarasponda ret-set-set!’”
A lifelong Denver resident and Denver Public Schools graduate, Susana has served as a teacher and a school leader at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She believes in the power of schools to transform our society.
In her role as superintendent, she has led significant improvements in student outcomes. Graduation rates have increased 8% over the past 5 years and Latino/a graduation rates improved by 10% in that same time period. In 2020, students took over 31,135 rigorous courses (AP/IB/Dual Credit) with a pass rate of 89%. Elementary reading has improved and multi-lingual students in DPS outperform their peers around the state.
Susana has received numerous award and recognitions, including the EdWeek Leader to Learn From; the Colorado Association of Bilingual Educators Board President’s Award; the Obama Administration White House Latino Educator Champion of Change; Top 25 Most Powerful Women Award Winner by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Leadership’s Institute’s Unsung Hero Award, and the Latinas Lead Influencer Award.
She says her friends and family helped her get where she is today. “‘Praise the bridge that carried you over,’ is one of my favorite quotes,” she says.
And she reminds girls and women to let go of the fear and go for it.
“Don’t be afraid to go after your dreams – you miss all the shots you don’t take!”