Dear DSST Team,
I write this message with a deep sense of gratitude for all of you and those who have come before you. I am thankful for the thousands of students and families who have given us the sacred opportunity to be a part of their educational journey.
With that gratitude, I share that this 2023-24 school year will be my last as CEO of DSST Public Schools. One could not ask for a greater responsibility and more fulfilling work. Working on the DSST team for the last 20 years, starting with the 13 members of the founding high school team at Montview High School, has been an honor of a lifetime.
I will finish this school year as CEO, so I am not going anywhere soon. There is important work to do in the coming months to implement our strategic plan and accomplish our mission. I want to ensure the Board of Directors will have the time and space to execute our well-thought-out succession plan over the course of an entire school year. I fully expect this year will be my best at DSST and our best year as an organization. Serving our 7,200 students with excellence will be my focus.
You may ask, why now? It is the right time. DSST is ready for a new leader to take the network to greater heights. A new CEO will bring different insights, skills and experiences to lead the organization into its next decade. DSST is ready for and will benefit from that. We have an incredible team in place, a compelling five-year plan and a strong core to continue to guide who we are and what we do. I have great confidence in the future of DSST. Our core (Mission, Core Values, View of the Human Condition and Commitment to Educational Equity) has guided us over the last 20 years and will continue to serve as the lamp at our feet in the future.
DSST is in good hands. We have exceptional team members who care deeply about our mission and our students. Working with all of you reminds me that there is nothing a passionate, talented group of people can’t accomplish together. I love this work, this organization and our people. There have been so many students, parents, alumni, staff, board members, friends, community leaders, state and local leaders and partner organizations who have made the DSST journey significant and meaningful over these last 20 years. But I owe the greatest debt of gratitude to you, the staff, who have made DSST go every day. You are providing access to generational educational opportunities for our students and developing amazing young people who are changing the world, one student at a time. What a blessing to be a part of this with you. Thank you.
This has been my life’s work, and I make this decision with a mix of sadness and gratitude. And, I feel called to consider new challenges and opportunities in my next chapter. To be clear, I have no specific plans or jobs after DSST I am considering at this point.
No goodbyes yet. My work continues. Our work continues. We have work to do to ensure we provide our students with a world-class education each and every day of this school year.
My heart is full. Thank you.
From DSST Board of Directors Chair Gloria Zamora
Bill Kurtz’s announcement that he will be stepping down as CEO at the end of this school year is a bittersweet moment for DSST. Like Bill, I too have a deep sense of gratitude. The Board of Directors and I have great appreciation for all that Bill has built in the past 20 years, as well as his thoughtful approach to his transition in June of 2024, allowing the board to identify and onboard his successor in a timely manner.
David Greenberg, our founder, along with the founding Board of Directors, made one of the most important decisions for DSST in 2003 in selecting Bill Kurtz as leader of the newly founded Denver School of Science and Technology. Under Bill’s leadership, DSST has grown from a single school serving a 9th grade class of 129 students to 16 schools with a staff of 900, serving 7,200 students. Since that time, Bill has inspired a whole community of students, their families and staff to work toward a vision to transform urban public education by eliminating educational inequity and preparing all students for success in college and the 21st century.
Bill began by building an innovative, nationally renowned high school – DSST: Montview. The school was known for a unique school culture centered on our Core Values, being the highest-performing high school in Denver and becoming the first high school in Colorado to have its seniors earn 100% college admittance. The school put a laptop in the hands of every student, which at the time was very forward thinking. Bill has led with a belief that every student can, and will be, successful, which has rallied teachers and school leaders to redefine how a rigorous, college-prep, STEM-centered program can change the lives of our students and their families.
I will greatly miss working with Bill when he begins his next chapter. For now the critical priority for the board is to identify and successfully onboard Bill’s replacement. The work has already begun. We thank Bill for providing us ample notice of his decision to remain through the end of the school year to guarantee a successful transition to a new CEO.
Bill has ensured that there is a strong senior leadership team and excellent leaders at all levels of the organization. DSST has exceptional teachers and staff dedicated to our students and their personal and educational growth. We commend Bill for the high-functioning school system he is leaving to his successor. This solid foundation will enable DSST to continue growing to meet the needs of our students and families in the coming years.
DSST is fortunate to have a very experienced, committed board that has a long tradition of disciplined succession planning, so we are confident we can ensure a smooth transition. The voice of DSST staff and community is important, and you will hear from us in the coming weeks as to the next steps in the CEO search process. The board will work closely with Bill and the new CEO to achieve a seamless handoff that keeps our students and their education in the forefront.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, we applaud Bill for his many achievements at DSST and thank him for his extraordinary, visionary leadership. When the time comes at the end of the school year, we will send him off with the warmest wishes for his new adventures.
With great optimism for DSST’s bright future,
DSST Board Chair