Denise Cotton, MA, Director of Programs, Behind the Book

Denise served as a classroom teacher for a number of years before beginning her 7 year journey in non-profit leadership.  In 2014, Denise joined Good Shepherd Services as the Program Director for Brooklyn Lifelink, a college access and retention program. From there she oversaw a Mentoring Program in Partnership with Ernst and Young and the District Attorney's office, a Transitions to High School Compass High program with DYCD, and after-school programming for Bronx Bridges HS. Denise was awarded the opportunity to attend the American Express Leadership Academy which prepared her for senior non-profit leadership. She is currently the Director of Programs at Behind the Book where she leads literacy programs in Title 1 NYC public schools and steers development of innovative, multidisciplinary, culturally responsive curriculum for K-12 schools. She recently collaborated with Columbia University’s Teachers College to publish a white paper titled "Centering Students

for Literacy Engagement: Voice, Choice, and Identity.” Denise holds a Bachelor of Arts from The New School and is a graduate of Stanford University where she has a MA in Elementary Education. Denise served on the Stanford University Women’s Alumni Board of New York and is actively involved with the Graduate School of Education Alumni Chapter.  She is a Harlem native and is passionate about education and the arts. 


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