Introducing GW’s New Principal
February 6, 2018
Dear George Washington Community,
Before sharing the exciting news about our next principal, we want to sincerely thank all the community members who expressed interest in and participated in our selection process. Your input – from identifying desired characteristics in our next leader to asking questions of our candidates to sharing your feedback on the strengths and growth needs of each candidate – made this a truly inclusive undertaking. Altogether, we heard from more than 200 students, educators, parents and community members. Thank you!
We also want to thank our three finalists, who invested so much time and effort in getting to know our school and our community. From participating in learning walks to demonstrate their instructional skills to presenting their visions for George in our community forum, each of our three finalists demonstrated they are strong leaders who care deeply about our students. However, we believe one leader stood out, so we are proud to share Dr. Kristin Waters will be George Washington’s next principal.
Dr. Waters is an experienced and proven high school leader in Denver Public Schools, serving most recently as principal of Denver South High School. Under her leadership, South students demonstrated a 38-point proficiency increase in all subjects tested, the school’s graduation rate improved by 13 percentage points and enrollment in AP, Concurrent Enrollment and Career Tech Ed courses grew from 174 to 776. South’s rating on the district’s School Performance Framework improved from Priority Watch (orange) to Meeting Expectations (green) under her leadership.
Prior to leading South, Dr. Waters embraced the challenge of turning around Bruce Randolph School, then the lowest-performing middle school in Colorado. She and her team of educators transformed the school into a grades 6-12 school where reading progress increased by 25 points and 97% of students earned college credits and graduated. Her work at Bruce Randolph led to Bruce Randolph’s progress being recognized by former President Obama in his 2011 State of the Union address.
Dr. Waters began her career in education in the classroom, as a teacher in south central Los Angeles. Her success has led to numerous leadership positions, including work as an Instructional Superintendent overseeing high schools in DPS and her current role as Chief Operating Officer of the Denver Scholarship Foundation. But, as she shared in seeking to become George Washington’s next principal, her heart belongs in schools: “I miss the day-to-day excitement of connecting with students and working with teachers. I am honored to come back home and lead collaboratively with the entire GW community.”
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Waters to the George family. We will soon be sharing opportunities to meet Dr. Waters as she begins working alongside Principal Lessard on a supportive transition plan focused on the success of our students, our educators and our school.
Scott Mendelsberg, Ph.D.
Prior to joining the team as GW’s new principal, Kristin served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Denver Scholarship Foundation. She has over 28 years’ experience in K-12 education, beginning as an English and French teacher in South-Central Los Angeles. Her diverse leadership roles over 18 years working in the Denver Public Schools include supervising high schools, overseeing charter and innovation schools, and as a principal leading significant turnaround efforts at Morey Middle School, Bruce Randolph School, and most recently Denver South High School. Her reform efforts at Bruce Randolph School contributed to the passage of two Colorado bills, the Innovation Schools Act and the School Turnaround Act. President Obama recognized Kristin in his 2011 State of the Union address as a leader making a difference in education.
Locally, Kristin received the Rocky Mountain PBS Be More Award acknowledging her contributions to education in Denver and Colorado. She has been a guest lecturer for the Morgridge School of Education at the University of Denver, and her work has been highlighted in numerous educational leadership publications. Kristin was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper as a member of the Student Leaders Institute Executive Board, and she is an active member of the International Women’s Forum in Colorado. Kristin hails from Burbank, CA, received her BA at the University of California, Santa Barbara, her MS at Pepperdine University, and her Ph.D. at the University of Denver.
She is married to husband Bill and enjoys the outdoors, reading, some type of daily fitness activity, and a little bit of golf.