FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STEAD High School Announces Founding Principal
The new agricultural charter high school is located in Commerce City
Commerce City, CO – March 3, 2020 – After an extensive search, the STEAD school board of directors and the STEAD hiring committee have officially announced Kevin Denton as the founding principal. STEAD, an approved 27J public charter, science-based high school, will focus on next-generation agriculture. The school is slated to open the fall of 2021 with 165 9th graders and will support an estimated 660 students at full build-out, growing a grade per year.
Denton is an experienced administrator and STEM educator with 15-plus years of progressive educational experience. Denton’s mission will be to implement the STEAD school’s vision of empowering students to lead their postsecondary and agricultural career pathways within the context of authentic science, technology, environmental, agricultural, and design systems learning environment.
Currently Buena Vista High School’s (BVHS) principal and Career Technical Education (CTE) Director, Denton is uniquely qualified to combine his experience as a seasoned principal and project-based STEM educator with the STEAD school’s vision to create an innovative model in Colorado. “Throughout my career, I have uncovered and developed curricula that are important in an educational environment and created new systems to motivate students and staff toward a vision of postsecondary readiness,” said Denton.
In addition to Denton’s work in the U.S., he served as chairman of the board at Kivu Hills Academy (KHA) in Rwanda, overseeing initial school design, curriculum development, leadership hiring and assisting with fundraising efforts. KHA was part of an exploration into the most innovative education models in sub-Saharan Africa that were most effective and sustainable.
Denton launched his career as a science and math educator and spent seven formative years at the Polaris Expeditionary Learning School in the Poudre School District. There, Denton explored innovative ways to develop active learning through collaborative projects, service, and multi-day projects, while exceeding state standards in a competency-based, personalized learning model. Denton was recognized by Fund for Teachers, National Geographic, and Expeditionary Learning, to name a few, as a leader in student-centered, active pedagogy that gave students opportunities to explore real-world problems as they grew into character-centered people. “I had the opportunity to present with High-Tech High as part of a Massive Open Online Course and was thrilled to see them featured as a model for the STEAD school,” said Denton.
“We are honored to bring Kevin on board,” said Amy Schwartz, executive director of the BuildStrong Education Foundation and one of the founding members of STEAD. “Incorporating relevant and authentic work into the educational experience is what he brings to the table and what the STEAD philosophy is all about. STEAD’s dynamic model for hands-on, project-based, career-focused education is in his DNA and we can’t wait for him to get started.”
STEAD will focus on the business and culture of agriculture and the curriculum will be unique to any school in the country. “Agriculture is a $41 billion-dollar industry for Colorado, employing more than 170,000 people across the state,” said Kelly Leid, executive vice president of community operations for Oakwood Homes, LLC. “Agriculture remains one of the largest contributors to the State’s economy and there is a dire need to educate the next generation for this booming industry. Denton is the perfect fit for our mission.”
STEAD empowers students to design and lead their own college and/or career pathways within the context of an exciting Science, Technology, Environment, Agriculture, and system Design learning environment. Heads, hearts, and hands are engaged in project-based learning as students develop their unique passions to become lifelong learners, thinkers, creators, and activists. All students graduate with a professional portfolio, a post-secondary plan, a robust set of work and community service experiences, and optional postsecondary credit through a range of college credit options.
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