Who am I?
My name is Michael Kiley and I am a product of public schools, as is my wife Donna. Both of my children go to Denver Public Schools (DPS). My daughter is attending Skinner Middle School and my son goes to Edison Elementary. I have a strong history in Denver. My maternal grandmother was Lucille Campa, who founded a ballet Folklorico studio in Denver. My maternal grandfather was Arthur Campa, an authority on Southwest culture and head of the language department at University of Denver in the 1970s. My paternal great-grandfather was Enos Mills, he was instrumental in the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. I am proud of my family’s history as educators and community leaders and I hope to honor this legacy as I serve the children of Denver.
Currently, I am a project manager for Kronos Incorporated. I am responsible for managing multi-million dollar projects for hospitals. I will take the leadership and consensus-building skills I have learned from my job and apply them to the Denver School Board.
Why am I running?
I am running for the Denver School Board because I am passionate about creating a quality neighborhood school for every student that provides arts, sports, music, world languages and extra-curricular activities just a walk away. In 2009, Skinner Middle school was about to close. I rallied hundreds of parents to demand that the administration provided the needed resources to Skinner. This year Skinner has the highest enrollment since 2003. I am also a member of North High Schools collaborative school committee and have worked to support the advancement of this school.
I want to bring what I have learned about community involvement to every school in DPS. There are many schools in Denver that are not providing a quality education to every student. We need to take the programs that are working for students and expand them to all Denver schools.
As a school board member I will make sure that every available dollar is going into the classroom. That we have quality programs and teachers in every school and that DPS brings the community into the decision making process. A lot can be accomplished through active collaboration between parents, teachers, school leaders and the administration.
My first goal after I am elected is to look at the financial transparency of DPS. There are 2600 administrators overseeing 4,000 teachers. I want to make sure that every available dollar is going into the classroom. I also want to make sure that every administrator we have is actively making education better in Denver. The administration needs to be recruiting and keeping the best quality teachers. The administration should be made up of people who are experts in education to begin with and can mentor and train principals to work in every type of school.
Another goal I have is to put focus back on the neighborhood school. DPS is no longer focused on creating neighborhood schools but outsourcing education to private organizations. Creating a quality neighborhood school promotes community and gives students activities that engage them in the learning process.
We need to close the achievement gap which has been growing in DPS. If we engage students in the learning process we will close the gap. The focus should not be on standardized testing which only shows one side of the learning process. Sports, art and music don’t fit on standardized tests but these are the things that engage students and keep them in school.
My DFA Values
Community is the most important thing in creating a world class education system. Schools are not successful without community involvement. I have worked with the whole community, parents, teachers, businesses, administrators and school leaders to create solutions that work for the community. I have been active in my community my whole life.
Security is very important, the first thing I want to do as a board member is look at the financial security of DPS. I don’t want to find out later that DPS no longer has the resources to provide a quality education to every student. We need to make sure that the funds DPS has are used in financially responsible ways and that funds are going to the classroom first.
Liberty is very important in education. Parents should have the right to make decisions that are best for their children. This includes what kind of school they attend, if they take standardized tests, and the environment they learn in. As a board member I will work with parents and the community to create a culture that is safe for students and promotes learning.
My Campaign is People Powered!
The campaign has worked on a grassroots level in several ways so far. We have reached out to the progressive community to knock on doors and talk to voters. This has been a very important aspect of our campaign. Personal touches to voters are worth more than mail and phones programs in getting their support. The community support has been empowering to the campaign.
Another way the campaign has been active in the grassroots community is by attending community meetings, community forums and neighborhood associations. Speaking one on one with active community leaders has strengthened the campaign. Since this is a grassroots campaign with a limited budget we have relied on the greater community to spread the word about the campaign.
We are continuing to build outreach with the community with a ballot drop off party. This is a large event to bring in the Latino voters and bring the community together to vote. This election is mail in only, so by bringing the community together we are providing a more collective feeling to voting. We will also be knocking on doors up until election day.