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Announcing DSST's Next CEO

After a national search process, we are thrilled to announce Nella García Urban as the second CEO of DSST Public Schools. Nella was chosen from an identified candidate pool of over 170 diverse leaders in an extensive search process.

Based on feedback from the DSST team and community, we were looking for a leader who demonstrated a deep alignment to DSST’s mission and core values and had a proven track record of leading high-performing schools. We were also looking for a leader with strong people leadership, external leadership and an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion. Nella exemplifies all of these qualities and more.

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Originally from the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas, Nella always knew she was meant to be an educator. She started her professional career as a teacher and later school leader at YES Prep Public Schools in 2004. Her 20-year career at YES Prep included serving as Chief Talent Officer, Chief Program Officer and most recently Chief External Officer. Highlights from her time at YES include leading the nationally recognized Teaching Excellence Program, increasing student achievement and college readiness, driving enrollment growth and launching the first ever elementary school program. Her deep belief is that teams create life changing opportunities for children and their families. 

Nella graduated from Rice University with degrees in English and Political Science with a focus in Latin American Studies as a Mellon Mays Fellow. She received a master’s degree from Sam Houston State University in Education Leadership focused on charter schools. In 2013, Nella was named a Pahara NextGen Fellow with the Aspen Institute. She completed The Broad Academy for Superintendents in 2020. She is a certified Executive Coach through the John Doerr Institute at Rice University. Currently, she participates in the Greenhouse E3 program for current and future charter school CEOs. 

Nella serves as the Board Chair of LEAL - Latino Educators Advancing Leadership - a new education non-profit organization focused on increasing the access and advancement of Latino leaders in the charter school space. A bilingual mother of two, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Pierre, reading, and supporting their children in finding passion in sports, adventure and the arts. 

Glenn Russo, President of DSST Board of Directors, is “excited to welcome Nella to DSST. She brings deep education experience as a teacher, school leader and Charter Network executive to the CEO role.  She will be a capable and passionate leader for the next chapter of DSST's journey." 

Bill Kurtz shared, “I am thrilled to work alongside Nella as DSST transitions into this next exciting phase of the organization. She is an incredibly talented leader, and we are so fortunate to have her joining our team. I believe she will lead DSST to a very bright future serving students and families in Denver and Aurora.”

Nella will be starting at DSST in mid-March and will work alongside Bill through his departure in June. She is excited to connect with families and staff this spring. We will share these opportunities to connect with her soon.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Nella García Urban. We have deep confidence that she will lead DSST with great success into the next decade and beyond.