The Board of Directors and leaders of Denver Language School are committed to making DLS the very best school it can be.  Learn more about our leadership team below:

Kathy Benzel

Executive Director

Kathy has been a teacher and administrator in K-12 schools since 1992. She began her career as an English immersion teacher in Bogotá, Colombia, then became a Spanish immersion teacher back here in the United States, as well as a World Language Curriculum specialist. Her former administration positions include Assistant Principal at Lone Tree and Pine Lane Elementary Schools, and Principal at Global Village Academy in Aurora.

Kathy has traveled the globe for cultural studies and professional development—Spain, England, Scotland, China, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Costa Rica—and is fluent in both English and Spanish. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English Literature and Bilingual/Dual Language Education at University of California-Santa Cruz and University of New Mexico, respectively. Kathy and her husband have two sons who are also bilingual.


Doug Seligman

Principal, Whiteman Campus

Doug has been in either an English teacher or administrator since 1994, first in New Mexico and since 1996, Colorado. His family moved a bit during his formative years so he considers Miami his childhood home.  He has a BA from the University of New Mexico and a MA from the University of Colorado at Denver. Doug was actually in the Czech immersion program while in the Army and graduated with native fluency.  He and his wife live in North Park Hill, and enjoy travel, movies, food, and their two dogs and two cats. 


Robert Newman

Principal, Gilpin Campus

Robert has been a part of the Denver Language School community for nine years. He has a BA in Comparative Literature from Texas Tech University, five hours from where he grew up near Dallas, TX. A former radio disc jockey, Robert, his wife, and daughter reside in North Denver.


Jessica Leonard

Dean of Students & School Culture, Whiteman Campus

Jessica received her BS in Elementary Education in 2012 from Northern Arizona University.  She completed an internship allowing her to gain experience working with all elementary grade levels before teaching 5th grade for a few years in Tucson, AZ.  Jessica has taken on multiple positions with DLS as she worked to obtain her master’s in Educational Leadership in Spring 2018. She continued her education further to obtain a Principal's Certificate in Fall 2018.

Her administrative duties include developing a positive school culture through PBIS, Restorative Justice, and overall student support. 


Matthew Martinez

Dean of Students & School Culture, Gilpin Campus

Matthew received his BS in Sociology and Criminology from Colorado State University- Pueblo in 2005. He then completed his master’s degree in community counseling emphasizing in cognitive behavioral therapy for adolescents. Matthew successfully completed internships in community and school counseling the summer of 2009. In 2015 Matthew completed his Master's of Business Administration with emphasis's in Public Administration and Leadership. This past spring, Matthew completed his alternative principal authorization program.

Matthew has 13 years of educational experience, with 10 years as a high school counselor and four years in educational leadership. Additionally, Matthew is going on his 14th year as a middle school and high school wrestling coach at Jefferson High School in Lakewood.