November 2019 - Dan Melendrez

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

November 2019

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight.  Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind!

This month we are featuring Dan Melendrez, Principal of Florence Jr./Sr. High School (Grades 7-12) in Florence, CO.

Career Highlights & Education

After graduating from Urbana University with my Bachelor’s degree, I started my career as a Division I (DI) collegiate Assistant Soccer Coach at ECU before realizing that I really needed to get back into the classroom. So I packed up and moved back to Colorado with the plan on getting a teaching position. Sure enough, there was as different plan in store and months later I was on a plane to South East Asia where I began teaching English in Homei, Taiwan. I enjoyed this three year cultural experience, as I was able to travel Asia and teach at the same time. This wonderful educational experience came to an end and I eventually returned to the states. I immediately accepted a paraprofessional position in Poudre School District to get my foot in the door, which then led to a Social Studies position and coaching multiple sports. 

While teaching in PSD, I earned my Masters in Educational Leadership, as well as taking a leadership and diversity program through CASE. This gave me an opportunity to be introduced to many Latino/Latina leaders who continued to mentor and encourage me to get into administration. This journey led me down the road to assistant principal, district, and AD roles in districts such as Greeley D6, TSD and Platte Valley Re-7.  I recently had a wonderful experience working at Platte Valley Middle School as an AP/AD under Jason Taylor, principal, and Dr. Glen McClain, Superintendent, that prepared me for my next chapter as a Principal. 

Currently, I’m in my first year as the Principal at Florence Jr./Sr. High School (7-12) in Florence, Colorado. I feel blessed and thankful for those around me who have joined my journey and helped me land in this wonderful district. I take my leadership position very seriously and I hope I have earned the opportunity to share my story. My goal is to work hard every day, set an example, rise to the level of expectation, honor my word, and teach the importance of respect being earned, not demanded. If I honor this, I know our students and teachers as well. We can’t be afraid to run from our own story. 


  • Nomination for Assistant Principal of the year in Thompson School District 2014
  • Nomination for Athletic Director of the year from Northern Plains Middle Level Association (NPMLA) in 2018 
  • Recognition as an Outstanding Educator for Centennial BOCES 2019

What is exciting about my job?
What isn’t exciting about our jobs in education? I have the greatest job in the world and I take what I do very personally. We get to change the world every day and impact students, staff, and our communities in Florence, CO. Our guidance and actions can echo lifelong memories in the people we interact with. We get to experience the ups and downs, but in the end we are family (HUSKY NATION). We are sending students into the real world prepared to be productive citizens of society whether it’s in regards to academics, workforce readiness or lifelong lessons. Husky Pride!  

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader:
My advice is to always assume positive intent, stay calm, soak in the environment around you, smile and build relationships. We are in this field to serve students and to change the world one day at a time. Rome was not built in a day, it starts with one brick at a time and one relationship at a time. While some days our roles can be one of the toughest jobs in the world, some days can also be some of the easiest days because of the small/big strides you see students and people make on a daily basis. It’s those moments that feed our soul and we are reminded why we do what you do. NEVER forget your “Why.”

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . .
If you catch me outside the office you will see me at athletic or activity events supporting our students. When I am not doing that, I am watching or attending college sporting events, traveling, or spending time with friends and family. It is very important to take the time when you can and when you do enjoy it!

How does CO-ALAS add value?
There is disproportionality between the student populations and Latina/Latino educational leadership roles in Colorado and CO-ALAS has given me an opportunity to be around like minded folks such as Dr. Glenn McClain, Jesus Escarcega, Don Rangel, etc. They have shared their struggles, successes and given me feedback so I can be the best administrator I can be for our students and staff. It has given me a forum to be an example for others, share my story and make connections.

CO-ALAS is a professional education association that advocates for the continued development and placement of Latino/Latina administrators who are committed to quality public education for all students.


PO Box 13109
Denver, CO 80201