Denise Walston

Board Member


The work I do: I’ve served as the Director of Mathematics for the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) for ten years. At the Council, my work focuses on supporting member districts in their implementation of college-and career-readiness standards, assisting with the development of resources and tools to strengthen implementation, supporting districts with the elimination of opportunity to learn gaps while also providing ongoing support for improvements in student achievement, especially for black and brown students.  My passion for my work centers on the education of urban students especially those who are underserved.

Previously, I worked in Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) as the Senior Coordinator of K-12 Mathematics.  My responsibilities included leading the development of the district’s mathematics curriculum; providing job-embedded professional development; leveraging mathematics resources to offer quality professional development for teachers and teacher leaders; and serving as an advocate for improvements in teaching and learning mathematics.  During my tenure in NPS, I had the pleasure of serving on several statewide committees that resulted in the creation of Virginias’ mathematics specialist program. 

My connection to the work of Student Achievement Partners:  When I began working with CGCS, my first collaboration was a 2-day professional development session for district mathematics leaders facilitated by the founders of Student Achievement Partners (SAP). This session focused on developing a deeper understanding of the Common Core Mathematics Standards and how to support teachers with implementation. Student Achievement Partners is an organization that our CGCS team continues to rely upon as a critical friend and to review resources developed for their consistency with the standards. My willingness to become a member of the Board is because of the alignment of their work with standards implementation and translating them into practice by supporting teachers and student learning. More importantly, their commitment to improving educational outcomes for students of color aligns with my passion and advocacy for creating equitable opportunities.

The perspective I bring to this Board:  The perspectives that I bring to this Board are my experiences as a high school mathematics teacher and a K-12 district mathematics leader who worked in a large urban school district. I also bring considerable experience of working with other large urban school districts and serving in leadership roles in several national mathematics organizations, such as a member of the board of directors for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2018-2021); National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (served as 1st Vice-President 2011-2012 and 2nd Vice-President 2010-2011); and the Virginia Council for Mathematics Supervision (served as president 2008-2010). I also bring a level of impatience with the fact that after more than 30 years, we continue to advocate for creating equitable opportunities for all students. My impatience serves as a catalyst for change. This is the time to make the vision of equity and excellence for all students a reality.