Bill Kappenhagen joins Community Schools Learning Exchange (CSLX) as Senior Consulting Associate. Affectionately known as “Kapp”, Mr. Kappenhagen has experience with start-ups, school founding, reboots, and school transformations. His coaching stance creates a safe space for leaders to unpack professional and personal dilemmas with a bent towards action and accountability.
Starting his teaching career in Shreveport, Louisiana and later Washington, DC, Mr. Kappenhagen taught reading and English language arts to students in middle school and high school. In order to bring literature to life for students, Mr. Kappenhagen collaborated with the Kennedy Center’s Artists-in-Residency program with funding allocated by a competitive teacher grant, Goals 2000.
Recognizing the limits of a public school system that could not at the time deliver on its promise to provide students a world class education, Mr. Kappenhagen co-authored the charter school conversion application and successfully converted it to serve as the city’s only public school district school to public charter school. Following that successful campaign, he served as the Founding Principal of the flagship school campus of DC Preparatory Academy, a now network of schools spanning grades k-8.
After a short stint as an assistant principal at a struggling comprehensive high school in San Francisco, Mr. Kappenhagen agreed to take the leadership reins. Rallying the community behind a compelling vision of teaching and learning, the high school made notable gains in all areas: achievement, attendance, enrollment, satisfaction, and culture and climate. Then sitting US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan remarked in a panel discussion that the high school “is a terrific school under the leadership of a great principal.” Mr. Kappenhagen was named Principal of the Year by then Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2010 and named Region 5 Administrator of the Year by Association of California School Administrators in 2011.
Only five weeks into the inaugural year of a start-up, STEM-focused middle school Superintendent Carranza looked to Kappenhagen for its reboot. With a focus of staff retention and professional development on trauma informed practices, the faculty began to stabilize. During his principalships in San Francisco, Kapp co-launched two community schools strategies. In addition, he co-launched a partnership with Spark, a non-profit organization that assigns and facilitates weekly mentorships with an entire grade band. 200 of Kappenhagen’s seventh grade students participated.
In addition to 14 years of site leadership, Mr. Kappenhagen served as the Director of Principal Leadership and Support, a principal supervisor position where he supported, coached and supervised six comprehensive high school principals and their administrative teams. In this capacity he devised and championed the San Francisco Unified School District’s secondary division’s plan to reduce chronic absenteeism. In this capacity, he led professional development and data discovery sessions for principals and their teams.
Additionally, Mr. Kappenhagen served as the Principal-in-Residence of the Children’s Aid Society, the oldest philanthropy for children in New York City. In addition he was a member of the Board of Managers for the YMCA - SF/Buchanan Branch. He also served as the Director of the Aspiring Principals Program for New Leaders, a national nonprofit organization vested in developing outstanding urban school leaders, and administrator on special projects for Leadership Public Schools, a charter school network.
Kapp hails from Loves Park, IL, a neighboring city of Illinois’ second largest city and holds degrees from Washington University in St Louis, MO and the George Washington University in DC. He also has a diploma from Harlem Senior High School.