Susana Córdova

Colorado Commissioner of Education

In June 2023 Susana Córdova was named Colorado’s 18th education commissioner and the first Latina to hold the state’s top education position. Prior to being named commissioner, Córdova spent more than 30 years in education. She served as an assistant principal, principal, director, chief academic officer, chief schools officer, and deputy superintendent before becoming the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. She also served as deputy superintendent in Dallas ISD, the second-largest district in Texas.

Córdova grew up in Denver and was a student in the district she later went on to lead. She spent her entire student career in DPS and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1984. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Denver in 1988, Córdova became a bilingual language arts educator at the now-closed Horace Mann Middle School in Northwest Denver. She then taught at West High School before becoming an assistant principal at Bryant-Webster Elementary School and then principal of Remington Elementary School – all high-poverty schools on Denver’s west side. During her tenure as principal, Remington improved by more than 33% over four years on the state reading assessment.

She was then promoted to the district’s administration as executive director of teaching and learning, chief academic officer, chief schools officer and deputy superintendent before becoming the first Latina superintendent in the district where more than half of the students are Hispanic. Among her priorities as superintendent was to “break the historical patterns of inequity that have resulted in far too few black, brown and low-income children succeeding at high levels.”

As the DPS superintendent, Susana led significant improvements in student outcomes, including an 8% increase in graduation rates for African American Students and a 10% improvement in Latino/a student graduation rates. In 2020, under her leadership, students completed more than 31,000 rigorous courses with a passing rate of 89%, and elementary multilingual students outperformed their peers across the state in reading. She is very proud of her commitment to biliteracy and bilingualism and helped shift the district to an asset-based approach to supporting multilingual students.

After leaving DPS, Córdova served as deputy superintendent for Dallas Independent School District from January 2021 to August 2022. She then became superintendent in residence for the educational nonprofit Transcend, leading their work to support systems leaders who are dedicated to creating innovative schools that provide equitable and exceptional learning experiences and outcomes.

Córdova’s educational background includes a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction/education administration from the University of Colorado Denver, and she anticipates receiving a doctorate in education from Southern Methodist University in 2024. She lives in Denver with her husband Eric Duran. Her son is a high school teacher in Denver, and her daughter is a recent graduate of Stanford University.