New Principals Announced at Jefferson and Oak Park

Willie Montgomery

Willie L. Montgomery, Jr. will serve as principal at Jefferson Elementary School.


Des Moines Public Schools is pleased to announce that Willie L. Montgomery, Jr.  has been selected as the next principal at Jefferson Elementary School. He replaces Mary Minard, who will serve as principal at Moore Elementary next year.

“Willie Montgomery is an exceptional leader who brings a powerful combination of wisdom and humility and an insatiable appetite for inclusionary leadership that brings all voices to the table,” said Associate Superintendent Matthew Smith.

Montgomery moved to Des Moines and started his teaching career at DMPS. His first assignment was Stowe Elementary School, where he taught for seven years. In 2019, he was selected as an associate principal at Hoover High School. He attended Drake University earning both a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s degree in Education Leadership.

“My children, Nevaeh and Noah, are DMPS students, I love the diversity, the energy, and swagger of our students and staff; I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.,” Montgomery said. “I would like anyone I encounter to know that I lead from the heart. I believe anyone and everyone can achieve their wildest dreams with the right goals in place and right people in their corner.”

Montgomery will begin work as principal at Jefferson Elementary School, pending School Board approval, on July 1.

Alexis Denton

Alexis Denton will serve as principal of Oak Park Elementary School.


DMPS is excited to share that Alexis Denton will take over leadership at Oak Park Elementary School. She replaces Ryan Sharp, who will become the next principal at Callanan Middle School.

“Lexie Denton is a rising star in educational leadership and brings a confident vulnerability that inspires authenticity and cultivates a sense of belonging,” said Associate Superintendent Matthew Smith.

Denton started her career as a second-grade teacher in Waterloo, where she also taught kindergarten and served as a literacy instructional coach for the Waterloo Community School District. She was selected to be an Associate Principal at Perkins Elementary in 2019. Denton earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Middle Level Education from University of Northern Iowa, Master of Arts Degree in Professional Education from Morningside College, and a Principalship Advanced Studies Certificate from University of Northern Iowa.

“I am excited to be a part of the strong pride and sense of community that is the North side,” Denton said. “Together we will build on the existing sense of community to create an environment where students will thrive and realize their self-worth and potential.”

Denton will begin work as principal at Oak Park Elementary School, pending School Board approval, on July 1.