Campus & Community

Vice Chancellor David Greenberg receives Bonfils Stanton Community Service Award

In honor of his transformative role in education reform, David Ethan Greenberg, vice chancellor of institutional partnerships at the University of Denver, has received the Bonfils Stanton Foundation’s 2014 Community Service Award. The recognition is part of a trio of foundation accolades given annually and known throughout the state as Colorado’s Nobel Prizes.

The Community Service Award recognizes Greenberg for his vision and leadership as founder of the widely hailed Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) and as first board chair of DSST Public Schools. The latter operates nine open-enrollment STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) charter schools on six campuses within Denver Public Schools.

In these roles, Greenberg is credited with launching an education enterprise that brings state-of-the-art STEM pedagogy to urban settings.  Plans call for 14 DSST middle and high schools within DPS by 2022. Currently, DSST schools serve 3,400 students, 65 percent of whom come from low-income families. To date, the Bonfils Stantion Foundation reports, 100 percent of DSST’s high school graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges.

“This award is a statement of support for where things seem to be headed in public education in Denver,” says Greenberg, who played a key role in organizing the 2012 presidential debate at the University of Denver. He notes that the list of previous award winners features Coloradans who mentored and inspired him throughout the process of creating DSST. These include DU Chancellor Emeritus Dan Ritchie; the late Marion Gottesfeld, a longtime DU trustee; Elaine Gantz Berman, former president of the Denver Board of Education; Anna Jo Haynes, founder of Mile High Montessori; and Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado.

“David is a man of vision and persistence and hard work. I’m tempted to say he can do almost anything,” said former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm in a video prepared by the Bonfils Stanton Foundation to chronicle Greenberg’s service. Lamm, currently co-director of DU’s Institute for Public Policy Studies, received the Community Service Award in 1986.

In that same video, Greenberg recounted what he called his “Ferris Bueller” relationship with high school, a reference to a 1986 movie about a bright student who ditches his dull classes for adventures in the outside world. Greenberg’s indifference to high school was countered, he said, by a single teacher “who was a complete epiphany to me in terms of what learning could be about.”

The memory of that teacher shaped Greenberg’s efforts to create DSST in 2004 and bring stimulating STEM education to inner-city schools.

In addition to his responsibilities at DU and DSST, Greenberg serves as a board member on the Governor’s Education Leadership Council and the Keystone Center for Science & Public Policy. He also has served as a member of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and as board president of the Colorado League of Charter Schools.


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