Dr. Wendy Birhanzel is honored to be Colorado's 2023 Superintendent of the Year and to serve as D2's superintendent. She has served more than 20 years in public education throughout California and Colorado. She earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership in Urban School Settings from the University of Southern California. Her passion is ensuring a high-quality educational experience for every student and opening doors to opportunities and success including her own son who graduated from Sierra High School. In her work, she advocates for necessary school funding and bringing a voice to students and staff.
During her time as a Principal of Centennial Elementary and Wildflower Elementary, Dr. Birhanzel’s leadership helped bring about significant changes that aided these schools to be honored with National Blue-Ribbon Awards and named National Title I Distinguished Schools. Moving into her role as Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Officer, she helped build up programming to support students through rigorous curriculum for all students. Dr. Birhanzel was awarded the Mayor’s Young Leader Award from the city and the Young Alumni Achievement Award from her college for her impact in education.
In her current role as Superintendent, Dr. Birhanzel works collaboratively with staff to offer students an excellent academic experience and opportunities, such as free college, free athletics and activities, free before- and after-school care, and free tutoring. She has also partnered with the community to ensure wrap-around supports including mental health care, food security, and housing are supported for all families. Her passion is supporting the whole child and family in the community. During her tenure, the district was named the best education workplace and has had the highest staff retention rates.
Dr. Birhanzel advocates for educational funding and ways to open student opportunities. In her role, she sits on several local and national boards to provide a voice for educators. Recently, she was named 1 of 22 to watch in ’22 by the Southeast Express, a Woman Making a Difference by the League of Women’s Voters, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Transformational Leader by Colorado Springs Business Journal, and the 2023 Colorado Superintendent of the Year by the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE). Each day she reflects on how decisions make better outcomes for students.