For the longest time, Bill Kurtz could not understand how systems that were supposed to help and support people in one way or another were turned into systems of ineffectiveness. All he knew is he wanted to be a part of change.
It was his clarity of conviction that helped him change his career path to work at an elementary school in the South Bronx of New York City. He had gained life skills that served him well in education, and when a chance to take on more leadership responsibilities arose, he took on that challenge which eventually led him to Denver.
“Denver was an opportunity to create and start a new organization. At the time, I was just creating one school that was trying to re-imagine public education in a high school,” he said. “I was really attracted at the opportunity of a diverse-by-design school […] and to create systems where all students have the opportunity to maximize their potential. That’s what has really driven my work in Denver.”
Denver School of Science and Technology is widely considered one of the nation’s leading open enrollment STEM-focused school systems and recently was awarded the 2018 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. A collaborative place by nature, as Bill put it, DSST Public Schools partners with Denver Public Schools to create career pathways for DPS teachers and principals alongside their own with the goal of creating a citywide pipeline of strong school leaders.
Leadership has always been something that has attracted Bill and something he believes has been lacking in our school systems.
“Unfortunately, in education, there is a tremendous vacuum of leadership in this country. We don’t have enough capable people going into leadership,” he said.
Reflecting on his own leadership, The Broad Academy represented a learning opportunity that Bill said he needed at the time. “DSST was scaling as an organization in big ways and I think my leadership was insufficient for what we needed as an organization,” he said. “So, the opportunity to come and learn from amazing colleagues through the program was something I couldn’t turn down.”
Hear more from Bill about The Broad Academy and how it helped him develop his leadership skills.
Lauren Ramos-Mendoza is The Broad Center’s associate director of communications.