Mayor Names Three New Administration Appointments

Published on November 21, 2023

Mayor Johnston today announced three key appointments within his administration, the Executive Director of Office of Children's Affairs, the Executive Director of Arts & Venues and the Chief Strategy Officer and Counsel to the Mayor.

Dwight Jones is appointed to lead the Office of Children's Affairs, Gretchen Hollrah is appointed into a dual role as Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Arts & Venues, and Jeff Dolan is appointed to serve as Chief Strategy Officer and Counsel to the Mayor.

"Dwight, Gretchen, and Jeff know Denver inside and out, and their leadership will make Denver the best city for artists, kids and families, and community members," said Mayor Mike Johnston. "They've committed their lives to serving Denver, and I look forward to continuing to work shoulder-to-shoulder to deliver on our promise of a vibrant Denver."

Headshot of Dwight Jones, a Black man wearing a dark suit and yellow tie

Dwight Jones - Executive Director, Office of Children's Affairs

As executive director, Jones will connect communities, government agencies and stakeholders to support the safety, well-being and development of young people and their families. He will advocate for children throughout the city and lead innovative programs that serve families.

Dwight Jones holds a distinguished career in education and the private sector, which includes serving as the Interim Superintendent and Senior Deputy Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Senior Vice President at McGraw-Hill Education and offering strategic guidance at the Discovery Channel's Education Division.

Jones served as the Superintendent of the Clark County School District in Las Vegas where he raised academic standards for over 320,000 students. As the Colorado Commissioner of Education, he earned recognition for revamping state standards, enhancing accountability, narrowing achievement gaps and, notably, spearheading the development of the Colorado Growth Model.

With diverse experience, Jones has held various superintendent, curriculum, and development roles, as well as principal positions at a variety of school levels. He has been a national speaker, is a published author and is currently a Senior Advisor to Whiteboard Advisors in Washington, D.C.

Amidst his illustrious career, Dwight has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards, including the AASA Distinguished Service Award, the NAACP's Heartbeat Award, the Asian Chamber of Commerce Community Achievement Award, the Chairman's Award of Excellence from the Nevada Latin Chamber of Commerce, recognition as an Alumni Fellow for Kansas State University's College of Education and induction into the esteemed Troops to Teachers Hall of Fame.

Beyond his professional achievements, Jones cherishes his time with his wife Jenifer and their three children.

headshot of Gretchen Hollrah, a woman with short blond hair

Gretchen Hollrah - Dual Appointment as Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Arts & Venues

Gretchen Hollrah was appointed in August as Deputy Chief Operating Officer. In her dual capacity, she will also serve as Executive Director of Arts & Venues where she will set the strategic direction and vision and lead the fiscal and operational strategy of the department to drive high impact, equitable outcomes.

Hollrah is a veteran city official in Denver with wide-reaching experience and expertise in a variety of agencies and departments.

Most recently, she served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA), where she oversaw a several departments, including Capital Projects, Equity and Organization Culture, Event Services, Facility Management, Information Technology, Security Services, and Sustainability Goals.

Prior to joining DCPA, she served the City and County of Denver for 18 years, overseeing the National Western Center, serving as both the city’s Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Denver Chief Projects Officer simultaneously, and leading the Department of Excise and Licenses as interim Executive Director.

Hollrah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Michigan. She and her husband Jason have four children who keep them grounded, grateful and busy sending regular care packages to college campuses.

Jeff Dolan - Chief Strategy Officer and Counsel to the Mayor

Headshot of Jeff Dolan, a man wearing a light gray suit smiling at the camera

Jeff Dolan, appointed as the Chief Strategy Officer and Counsel, will be responsible for advancing the vision and shaping the strategy of the

Mayor and his office on key initiatives, driving implementation efforts supporting those initiatives, and providing counsel and strategic guidance to the Mayor and his leadership team.

Since 2011, Dolan has been the Vice President of External Affairs at Comcast in the company’s Mountain West Region, where he was responsible for the company’s government relations and public-private partnerships, external media and communications strategies, and community impact and investment initiatives working to bridge the digital divide. 

Prior to his role at Comcast, Dolan was an attorney at Hogan Lovells US LLP. His experience also includes a variety of political strategy roles in Washington D.C.

Dolan has been involved in public and civic affairs since the start of his career in Washington D.C. where he served in key staff roles for then-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.  He developed extensive political experience in several high-profile campaigns and was recruited to Colorado in 2001 to help lead the campaign for U.S. Senate by candidate and former Colorado U.S. Attorney Tom Strickland.  After earning his law degree, Jeff was recruited to join the law firm Hogan Lovells by then-managing partner (and now current) U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan, who had previously served as both city attorney and chief of staff to a former Denver Mayor.  While at Hogan Lovells, Dolan’s legal practice focused on political, legislative, and government regulatory matters in a wide range of areas. 

Dolan is a graduate of Augustana College. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law where he graduated second in his class. He is a Denver resident with deep ties in the community. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and previously served on the boards for the Denver Public Schools Foundation, City Year Denver, and the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association.  Dolan is a proud father of three daughters who all attend Denver Public Schools. 

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