Denise M. Hanson is the creator of Root to Rise. She has devoted 30 years to working in K-12 public education as a Spanish and French teacher and Restorative Justice and Engagement Coach. She also taught and trained pre-service teachers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds Master’s degrees in School Counseling and Teacher Leadership. Denise has received grants for second language acquisition at the elementary level and leadership development for high school students of color. She has authored several publications, including: “Crossing Bridges of Culture, Color, and Language”, "Language Lessons: Using Student Assistants to Bridge Culture & Language" and “The Deep Approach: Second Languages for Community Building”. Her mission is to build equity in schools by empowering young people of color to become active leaders in their communities. Denise lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.