History of Leadership Denton

Leadership Denton evolved from what was originally the Denton Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee, chaired by Dr. Derrell Bulls. The committee’s goal was to encourage leaders and potential leaders to get involved in the community to make Denton a better place to live, learn, work, and play. In 1984, Ricky Grunden chaired a sub-committee that developed the original curriculum and structure, primarily based on existing models through the Dallas and Garland Chambers of Commerce.

Subsequently, Grunden headed the first Leadership Denton Steering Committee in 1985. The original Program Co-Chairs were Russell Bates and Dr. Henry Hays. The first class graduated in 1986. As of the 25th class, there have been 441 graduates of Leadership Denton.

Six members of the Denton City Council have graduated from Leadership Denton: former Mayor Mark Burroughs (who also chaired the Leadership Denton Steering Committee), former Mayor Perry McNeill, and former Council members David Biles, Sandy Kristoferson, Rudy Moreno, and Raymond Redmon.

Five members of the Denton Independent School District Board of Trustees have graduated from Leadership Denton, including incumbents Mia Price and Dr. Glenna Harris. Former DISD board members include Virginia Gallian, Hank Paine, Jr. and Rick Woolfolk. Virginia Gallian was the first incumbent elected official to enroll in Leadership Denton after the application rules were amended in 2002.

Former Denton County Commissioner Cynthia White is a Leadership Denton graduate, and also served as a Program Co-Chair.

Ten Chairs of the Board of the Denton Chamber of Commerce have graduated from Leadership Denton: Carl Anderson, Michele Barber, Richard Hayes, George Highfill, Perry McNeill, Lee Ann Nutt, Ellen Painter, Connie Pelphrey, Marty Rivers, and Randy Robinson.
Interview with Ricky Grunden
Amy O'Keefe, General Chair of Leadership Denton 2014-2015, interviews Ricky Grunden regarding the importance of the program and its legacy over the last 30 years.