Bennet ’87 Nominated for Senate Seat

Michael Bennet '87, superintendent of Denver Public Schools, meets with students from OpenWorld Learning's program at Castro Elementary School in Denver.

Michael Bennet '87, superintendent of Denver Public Schools, meets with students from OpenWorld Learning's program at Castro Elementary School in Denver.

Michael Bennet ’87, designated to fill a vacant Senate seat from Colorado, told The New York Times in January that he would go to Washington believing there is “no problem too tough to withstand innovative thinking.”

Bennet, son of Wesleyan President Emeritus Douglas J. Bennet ’59, is the superintendent of schools in Denver. Colorado’s governor, Bill Ritter Jr., selected him to replace Sen. Ken Salazar, nominated as interior secretary for the Obama administration.

Bennet told the Times he would focus on health care, the economy and education. He has gained prominence as superintendent, working with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ’74.

In a statement, then President-elect Obama said, “His breakthrough work at the helm of Denver’s schools has reflected that commitment, and established Michael as one of the nation’s leading education reformers.”

The Times credited him with turning around a school system “replete with problems” despite his having little experience as an education administrator. Student performance on standardized tests has improved during his tenure.