December 2021
"I contend that we can’t simply believe in equity, fairness, and justice in education. We have to create it." -- Dr. Sharon Bailey
Honoring Dr. Sharon Bailey
Learn more about the life and legacy of Dr. Sharon Bailey in this video.
Dear Team DPS,

Below is the eulogy I shared during Dr. Bailey's service last week. I wanted to again share these words, and my admiration, for this incredible leader:
On Dec. 3, we lost an educational hero: Dr. Sharon Bailey. Although I only had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Sharon Bailey for less than a year, I was in awe of her. I was in awe of her focus.

One of our core values here at DPS is Students First. Dr. Bailey came to work every day with that as front-of-mind. I never saw her when she was not calm. At the same time, I never saw her when she was not purposeful, clear and focused on why she came to work each day. And, she worked to keep the rest of us purposeful, clear and focused on making the school district better. Dr. Bailey wanted all of the actions that we take as leaders of the school district to always be Students First.

Dr. Bailey did that.

I was in awe of her determination. Dr. Sharon Bailey was the central force behind the transformation of our school district. When she wrote The Bailey Report, it was a game-changer. Not only did her work detail how Black educators felt mistreated by the school district, it also gave people hope. Hope that things -- even difficult things -- can be changed.

Dr. Bailey did that.

In addition, The Bailey Report was so thorough, so convincing and, again, so game-changing, that Dr. Bailey had the superintendent of DPS at that time publicly say, “We have a problem with racism.”

I hope you truly understand the impact of that moment. Pronouncements like that don't happen every day. And no meaningful action or change happens without acknowledging that it’s needed.

Dr. Sharon Bailey made the district read what was in her report, acknowledge that what she found was real, and begin to take action to remedy the issues -- like providing bias training for employees, and working to recruit and retain more Black educators. And, she did it with love -- not an ounce of resentment, anger, or animosity. Dr. Bailey was about the work.

Dr. Bailey did that.

I was in awe of the way she got things done. 

How did she do all of this? The answer is simple: There was just something about Dr. Sharon Bailey. I learned that during the brief time I got to know this wonderful person. Many of you have known this for a very long time.

Dr. Bailey had the perfect foundation for her work in our school district. She was a DPS student, a DPS parent, a DPS Board of Education member and a DPS employee. She was that trusted insider. She had no hidden agenda. And, she wanted no publicity. So when Dr. Bailey took the time to carefully dissect the inequities within DPS, authentically share those painful truths with us, and purposefully tell us that we can make this better, we all listened. 

Dr. Bailey did that.

Dr. Sharon Bailey provided us with a roadmap. Not only did she take that big step of creating this roadmap for us, she also left us with a task list of what else we need to do so that her work will not be in vain.

She made each one of us better educators and leaders. She made Denver Public Schools better. It is our responsibility as a school community to maintain that momentum. As the leader of the district, I want you all to know that I will do all that I can to ensure that DPS continues to do the work that Dr. Sharon Bailey started.

I said it to her many times during meetings. Right now, I feel as though I did not say it enough. Thank you, Dr. Sharon Bailey. Thank you for everything that you are, for everything that you stood for, and for your kindness, patience and grace as you did the important work of ensuring that the grown-ups in DPS keep their focus on our North Star; Students First.

Her legacy empowers us all to do that going forward.

In collaboration,

Dr. Alex Marrero
Pictured at top: Dr. Sharon Bailey, seen here in a 1987 photo when she was a delegate to the World Congress of Women in Moscow. (The Denver Post via Getty Images)
In lieu of flowers, Dr. Bailey's family is requesting that donations be made to the Dr. Sharon Bailey Memorial Scholarship Fund sponsored by the Denver Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Bailey family. Donations can be made online via The Denver Foundation. Indicate the donation is for the Sharon Bailey Fund. Checks can be made payable to The Denver Foundation, 1009 Grant St., Denver, CO 80203.
A Snapshot of Dr. Bailey’s Work Toward Equity in DPS:
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