Mejía worked in the cabinet of Mayor Wellington Webb as Manager of Denver’s Department of Parks and Recreation, served as the Founding Chief Executive Officer for the Denver Preschool Program. Mejía is a Denver native, currently residing in the West Wash Park Neighborhood with his wife and three children.
James Mejia was born February 15, 1967 in Denver and was raised in Park Hill. He attended Park Hill Elementary, Blessed Sacrament Elementary and Gove Junior High School. Mejía graduated from Denver’s East High School in 1985. His father taught at West High School in Denver for 37 years, and his mother was an early childhood educator in their Park Hill Neighborhood.
Mejía received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1989. He went on to earn his Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University in 1992 and complete his Master of Public Policy degree in 2004 from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
James was elected as an At-Large Member of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education in 1999 with 58% of the vote. He served for one term until 2003.
James announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Denver in June 2010, when then-mayor, now current Governor, John Hickenlooper decided to pursue the governor’s office.
Mejía took leave from the Denver Preschool Program where he was the Founding Chief Executive Officer, having been appointed in 2007. Under Mejia’s leadership, DPP helped send more than 15,000 Denver children to quality preschool programs by providing over $23 million to help Denver families afford this essential early childhood education. After leaving the Denver Preschool Program in 2011, Mejia started a consulting firm, Mejia Associates in business related ventures. http://www.mejiaassociates.com
In September 2004, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper appointed Mejía as the Project Manager of the Denver Justice Center. The Denver Justice Center consists of a 35-courtroom courthouse, a 1,500-bed detention center, a United States Post Office and a new parking garage. Under Mejía’s management the project achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation.
Mejía was appointed by Mayor Wellington Webb to his cabinet as Manager of Denver’s Parks and Recreation in June 2001.
From 2000-2001, Mejía worked as Deputy Director in the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development & International Trade under Mayor Wellington Webb. In November 1999, Mejía was elected to the Denver Public Schools Board of Education as an At-Large Member Mejía served on the DPS Board of Education from 1999-2003. In 1996 Mejía was recruited by Mayor Webb as the Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Relations. Mejía was the Executive Director of Denver’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from 1995–1996 and previously worked as a Trade Specialist in the Colorado International Trade Office.
James Mejía is married to Dr. Heather Riley, who also grew up in Denver. A Wesleyan graduate, she holds a master’s degree and PhD in Education from the University of Colorado. Mejía and Riley have three girls: Moya, Alexandra, and Riley. Mejía and Riley share a passion for running. As of August 2012 Mejía has completed 56 marathons and Riley has completed 26.
Mejía is a past President of the Board of the historic Denver Athletic Club, and on the Past President's Advisory Committee at the DAC. Mejia is an advisor to the technology non-profit, Open World Learning, on the Community Cabinet of Metropolitan State University President, Steve Jordan, and on the board of directors of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense Fund).“Leader of the Year,” – 9News, 2009
“Denver's 150 Unsung Heroes” – Rocky Mountain News, 2009
“People to Watch in the New Millennium” - The Denver Post, 2000
“New Leaders of the Latino Community” - The Rocky Mountain News, 1999
“Action Award” from American Jewish Committee for work in race relations, 1998
“40 Under 40” – Denver Business Journal, 1996