This is the second in a series of profiles of Community Planning and Advisory Committee (CPAC) members. Comprised of parents, teachers, students and community members, the CPAC is continuing to meet virtually throughout the spring in order to develop a set of recommendations for the 2020 bond and mill levy packages that will go to the DPS Board of Education for approval in June.
Mark Marshall is a parent of two DPS students and is the Director of Real Estate at the Urban Land Conservancy. Mark brings 25 years of experience in affordable housing development as well as eight years of service as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He has served as a board member for several local nonprofits and coaches youth sports through Denver Parks and Recreation. Below is Mark’s first-person account of his motivation for serving on CPAC:
Being a volunteer has always come naturally to me, so when a colleague informed me about the opportunity to participate on the Community Planning and Advisory Committee, I didn’t hesitate in submitting an application. Having been involved in previous bond allocation processes representing nonprofit organizations seeking new or improved community amenities, I recognized the importance of having your voice heard and being a strong advocate for communities, organizations and groups that historically might not have been part of the conversation regarding funding allocations.
Having a background in architecture, construction and affordable housing development has made my placement on the facilities maintenance committee a very natural fit. As a part of this committee, I’ve been impressed with the level of emphasis focused on ensuring that recommendations for facility improvements are transparent, formulaic and viewed through an equitable lens so that less-resourced schools and communities are placed as a higher priority. It’s gratifying to see the level of research, thought and concern that goes into decision-making by the staff and the other volunteers on the committee. There’s a sense of pride in knowing the increased benefits that numerous schools will receive as a result of our collective work.
On a personal note, my wife and I have two sons – ages 12 and 10, enrolled in DPS. Our older son attends a charter middle school and the younger attends a traditional, district elementary school. As parents we have both always been very involved in our children’s education (even more so now given the stay-at-home directive and online learning). We have participated in fundraising activities and volunteered in classrooms. Because of this involvement, I have a vested interest in seeing that not only my children, but that all children across the City of Denver have the opportunity to learn in a safe, welcoming and inspiring environment. A personal mantra that has stuck with me for many years is that either you’re part of the solution or you’re part of the problem. Being a member of CPAC is definitely part of the solution.