Denver Skyline

Denver is not only a “Mile High City”; it’s also one of the fastest growing cities in the county. According to the U.S. News & World Report “Best Places to Live” rankings, Denver is the #1 place in the entire nation to live. The area has a thriving economy and was also listed as #1 on Forbes list of best places for business and careers. Denver offers both the perks of urban living as well as many outdoor adventures.

Overall, Colorado has one of the widest achievement gaps between affluent and poor students in the country, and one of the nation’s highest dropout rates. Affluent students are three times more proficient than those growing up in low-income communities. Specifically, Denver’s Public Schools serves a student body comprised of 71% low-income students and the achievement gap between low-income and non-low income students is almost 40 percentage points across all subjects.

But the state and its capital city have embraced change. Here, businesses and philanthropic partners with educators and legislators to transform the system. With an early, successful pay-for-performance system for teachers, Denver emphasizes “Empowering Effective Educators.” The district is also looking toward its future, closing failing schools and opening new options.

Denver is a reform-friendly city, with many high-performing charter schoolsnew education technology startups, and active advocacy organizations. In fact last year, Colorado’s Senator Michael Bennet and Mayor Michael Hancock were named Champions for Charter Schools by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. These efforts are increasing achievement and enticing families – and professionals – back to Denver.


Education Pioneers officially launched in Denver in 2014 to supply local organizations with the talented people they need to achieve their goals.

  • Following successful local pilot partnerships in 2012 and 2013, EP launched our Denver site in 2014 with 20 program participants. Denver partner organizations have hosted 48 program participants to date.
  • 15 Education Pioneers Fellows were placed here in 2015.
  • 20 total partner organizations, including Denver Public Schools, The Gates Family Foundation, charter school management organization Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST), STRIVE Preparatory Schools, venture philanthropy Charter School Growth Fund, and advocacy organization RISE Colorado.
  • EP Fellows in the Denver area work on strategic projects that make a difference, including: creating tools and coaching to support a data-driven culture in Denver Public Schools, bringing cutting-edge technology into teaching at DSST, developing an expansion plan for a charter school facilities fund at Charter School Growth Fund, evaluating the impact of grant making activities at the Gates Family Foundation, and overseeing school-support operations for STRIVE Prep.
  • Of local Denver Alumni in the workforce, 85%+ are working in education.
  • Several EP alumni are contributing to the Denver region’s education work, including 2006 Graduate School Fellow Richard Billings, now Chief Financial and Operating Officer at the Charter School Growth Fund, and 2013 Education Pioneers Fellow Zachary Rowe, now the Chief of Staff, Human Resources at Denver Public Schools.
  • Other alumni are driving impact for Denver students in a wide variety of key functional roles, such as:
    • Director of Competency Based Learning, Denver Public Schools
    • Associate Director, Climb Higher Colorado
    • Director of Finance, Girls Athletic Leadership School
    • Assistant Principal, STRIVE Preparatory Schools
    • Chief of Staff, Rocky Mountain Prep

Local Contact


A+ Denver
DSST Public Schools
Gates Family Foundation
Generation Teach


Gates Family Foundation
The Connie Burwell and William W. White Foundation
Carson Foundation
TeleTech Community Foundation