Denver East High School Principal John Youngquist Is Leaving

DENVER — John Youngquist is resigning from East High School.

Mr. Youngquist informed the community that at mid-year he would be leaving the school to take a new position as the Director of Principal Talent Development. In his new role, Mr. Youngquist will be charged with the job of recruiting and developing new principals and assistant principals for future openings, while mentoring existing directors within the Denver Public School system.

Tom Boasberg, DPS superintendent followed up with parents in an email regarding the change. “John,” he wrote, “is a very natural fit for this position, which has great potential to improve our leadership corps throughout the district.”

While Mr. Youngquist plans to stay active in the school to ensure a smooth transition, the day-to-day operation of Denver’s pre-eminent public high school falls in the capable hands of Andy Mendelsberg, who will take over as interim principal. Mr. Mendelsberg is widely known for his educational credentials, his infectious enthusiasm, and his superior communication skills. DPS plans to work with the community as it searches for a permanent replacement for principal. Mr. Mendelsberg is being considered as a candidate for the long-term position.

Mr. Youngquist has served as principal of the school since June 2007 as is widely credited for turning East High School into the top performing high school in DPS.

As head of East, he has created the school with the largest number of enrolled students and the highest choice public high school. Highest choice is a barometer of how schools are viewed citywide. The status means that more students choose to go out of district to attend Mr. Youngquist’s school.

Mr. Youngquist has a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an MA in Educational Leadership from the University of Colorado at Denver. He is a member of the Colorado Association of School Executives and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In 2000, he was a National Distinguished Principal. He won the 2001 Outstanding Young Coloradoan Award. He received the Alumni Leadership Award from the University of Colorado in 2005, the Crystal Apple Award from the Marquez Family Foundation, and the Angel Award from the East Angel Foundation in 2010.

As principal, Youngquist ate lunch with students during “Munchin’ with Youngquist” in order to find out what kids were thinking, and to find out what they would do if they were principal. Schools are at their best when “teachers, parents, and students [are] working as a team,” Youngquist wrote.

If he can teach this open door policy to others in the DPS system, he will truly be an “angel.”

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