Longtime Denver Public Schools employee joins parents in voicing concerns

DENVER (KDVR) — Will Jones, former head of communications for Denver Public Schools, left his position in February after nearly nine years with the communications team.

On Monday evening at a district public comment and progress monitoring session, Jones spoke publicly for one of the first times since he left his position.

He said that when he first started, the board told him his first priority.

“One of the first people I talked to when I started with DPS was then board member Landri Taylor, rest in peace,” Jones said. “He said if someone asks us a question about DPS, make sure we already know about that issue, so we can respond appropriately.”

He said that comment, echoed by then-superintendent Tom Boasberg, helped guide him as he worked for the schools in communications. But eventually, it began changing.

“After the board hired your employee, he instituted something called ‘executive limitations.’ Executive limitations can unfortunately limit what the board knows,” Jones said.

Will Jones speaking at a DPS meeting.
Will Jones delivers public comments to the Denver Public Schools board after being an employee with the district for nearly nine years. (KDVR)

Confidentiality agreements for Denver schools employees

Later on, he said something new was implemented in the communications department.

“I also recently learned that your employee just mandated that all members of the DPS communications team must now sign confidentiality agreements. A curious mandate,” Jones said.

Along with issues of transparency, others presented safety concerns. Collinus Mason, an educator and the sister of Wayne Mason, who was shot by a student at East High School on March 22, 2023, said she will never be the same after that incident.

“I’m tired of being angry,” she said. “I want to help. So you tell me how I can help and I will do anything you ask me to do.”

Other concerns stemmed from the recent departure of a principal at Hallett Academy.

“We aren’t being told why our principal is being taken from us,” said Kali Caldwell, a Hallett Academy parent.

In March, parents were informed Principal Dominique Jefferson would not be returning for the school year. In an email to FOX31, a school district spokesperson said they cannot say anything else without potentially violating the employee’s right to privacy.

However, some claimed this was still an issue of transparency, with Jones highlighting the changes made by an employee of the board. In closing, he offered some of the board members an offer of his support.

“Because I am not constrained by executive limitations, and because I am not restricted by any sort of confidentiality agreements, I invite all of your board members to allow me to support you today,” he said. “I can provide you with details of what I have seen and heard over the past three years.”

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