Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Principal for Rainier Beach High School

The district announced the appointment of Dwane Chappelle at RBHS.    He comes to us from Arlington, Texas where he was an assistant principal (not sure of what kind of school - Google search shows it was a high school).  He started as a Special Education teacher.  He is African-American.  From the press release:

Mr. Chappelle also worked as a juvenile detention officer for Dallas County, helping detained youth and developing programs in academics, group projects and life skills. 

Mr. Chappelle said he considers it a privilege to serve the students and staff of Rainier Beach High School, as well as the community. Within the next two weeks we also plan to announce an Assistant Principal for RBHS. I am confident that with a strong team in place at Rainier Beach High School, we will see significant improvements. 

I don't have any comment yet from RBHS PTSA leadership.

Update Wednesday morning:  The RBHS PTSA seems to be quite satisfied with this choice.  They said, "Mr. Chappelle is an experienced Principal with IB training/certification."


dan dempsey said...

At the Plano Texas ISD From Here comes this:

Assistant Principals

Dwane Chappelle
{Larry Guinn Special Programs Center}
Mr. Chappelle has served as administrative intern at Clark High School since 2007, after serving in Richardson ISD as a secondary school administrative intern for one year and an elementary school teacher for two years. MHe has also served as a juvenile detention officer with the Dallas County Probation Department (2003 to Present) and as a probation counselor with the Contra Costa Probation Department in Martinez, California (1999 to 2003).

Dwane Chappelle's Experience

Assistant Principal
Arlington ISD

2010 – Present (1 year)

Assistant Principal
Plano Independent School District

2007 – 2010 (3 years)

Dwane Chappelle's Education

Texas A&M University-Commerce
Superintendent Certification
2010 – 2012 (expected)

Texas Woman's University
Principal Certification
2006 – 2007

Texas A&M University-Commerce
Masters, Secondary & Higher Education
2005 – 2006

Grambling State University
B.S., Criminal Justice
1994 – 1998

Po3 said...

Interesting background.

dan dempsey said...

Mr. Chappelle was at Sam Houston High School in Arlington Texas.

Dwane Chappelle -- Assistant Principal

Attendance/Discipline for students Hp-Mel 9-11

Coordinate Saturday School

Coordinate D-Hall/OCS/CHOICES/TP

Co-Coordinator for New Teacher Transition Mtg.

Co-Coordinator for Faculty Duty Schedule

Assist. Coordinator for 9th Grade Orientation

Extended Day Coordinator

Admin. Liaison for PE, Health, Trainers, Fine Arts, Plato
Education History

Albany High School, Albany, CA
BA: Grambling State University
MA: Texas A&M Commerce

futurebeachmom said...

The best teacher-of ALL the kids in a class that any of my kids has ever had, anywhere, was someone with a background of working with troubled kids. She got how to deal with the good kids, the problem kids, the ESL kids, the kids from troubled homes, the kids with involved parents and the kids with absent parents. I've never seen anything like it, before or since.

She was a fairly newly minted teacher, but her long history of working with kids made her look like the most seasoned veteran. When people told me-"You can tell her students years after they've left her class-they go on to become leaders," I thought they were exaggerating. They weren't. And this was a teacher in S. Seattle. Mr. Chappelle's appointment could be a good thing.

dan dempsey said...


City-data.com school rating (using weighted 2010 test average as compared to other schools in Texas) from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) is 20.

Arlington, TX 76014

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/school/sam-houston-high-school-tx.html#ixzz1QcmhSYE0

Texas has the TAKS test -- the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills ..

A lot of TAKS data for Sam Houston HS is available at the above link.

The scores above let you know about Sam Houston High School remember that Mr. Chappelle was there for only the 2010-2011 school year.


dan dempsey said...

Dear futureBeachmom,

While if one only looked at Mr. Chappelle's public school credentials, he might be viewed as lacking in experience to be a high school principal.

You correctly point out that Mr. Chappelle's experience before entering teaching and school administration may make him an exceptional principal. ... Time will tell.

Jan said...

futurebeachmom: I agree with Dan that only time will tell -- but I also wholeheartedly agree with your observation.

One of the two hands-down, all time best principals my kids EVER had came from a social work background. She had an incredible ability to see each child, and an amazing drive to meet each child's needs -- she didn't "run a school" -- she created individualized educational environments for kids -- and "a school" was the result.

Hoping for the Best for RBHS!

futurebeachmom said...

Jan, That's exactly it-it was as though there was a specific IEP for each child in the class, no matter where they were in level. The kids working below standard moved up; the kids who came in well above STAYED above and moved higher, and the one who came in without any English was fluent by the end of the year. It was astonishing.

When I hear people say that differentiation cannot happen in a typical classroom and most especially not in a class with struggling kids, I say to them, oh yes it can! And here's how...

Wishing RBHS the very best said...

Hopefully the RBHS community will work strongly WITH the new principal to build a stronger school. Ultimately if people are not willing to be part of the solution they shouldn't complain about the problems.

Anonymous said...

Plano and Richardson TX are definitely NOT the demographic of RBHS. They are the high end suburbs of Dallas. Plano is a bit like Issaquah or something, and Richardson, a Madison park type area. Not sure that it matters, but we're not even talking about the same kettle of fish. Furthermore, TX actually supports its schools a lot more than WA. Maximum class size for elementaries is 22 statewide in TX, with most schools being less.


Gouda said...

In my opinion, this background will not entice local kids in the area to attend Rainier Beach.

Rainier Beach High School desperately needs to shed its image that it is only for troubled kids. The neighborhood kids of RBHS are drawn from a large area of diverse backgrounds.

RBHS PTSA and others have correctly stated that increased enrollment needs to be a goal of the school. This choice, IMNSHO, will not change that image. If SPS wants to see the end of segregated schools, it needs to choose someone who can both work in diverse backgrounds but also entice the middle class to join the school.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to Mr. Chappelle and RBHS! Hopefully, he will prove to be an excellent leader.

What I noticed about his background is how it contradicts Susan Enfield's emphasis on the principal being the "instructional leader" of the building. If this were the case here, Mr. Chappelle would not have been hired.

A good principal is a building leader first and foremost. Susan
Enfield disregarded this during the Floe debacle. Interesting that this is her priority at RBHS.

-Trying to talk out of both sides of your mouth

SusanH said...

What happened to the IB experience requirement? Since IB is the only glimmer of hope for academic excellence and increased enrollment, I thought that was of upmost importance...

Nick said...

This appointment backs up what the demographics have been showing for many years; Seattle is very good at establishing racially segregated schools. 80% of students in the Rainer catchment area do not attend local schools. Apartheid is alive and well here in Seattle and those that run this city and most of its citizens are very comfortable with it!

Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...

This appointment should truly be a concern to the stakeholders in our district and particularly the RBHS students and families. I wish Mr. Chappelle the very best in what he has now signed on for and will be charged with accomplishing.

Serious questions need to be answered in my opinion. Was an assistant principal intern the best possible candidate to serve as the principal of one of our comprehensive high schools? Some have noted the examples of good teachers that have had experience working with troubled youth, this is truly apples and oranges as a teacher's responsibilities and roles are far different than a principal. What other district in our state has appointed an assistant principal intern from out of state to serve as a principal of a comprehensive high school?

What process was followed to have us end up with this appointment? It appears as though the first candidate selected declined the job offer. Was Mr. Chappelle the second candidate the selection committee had chosen? Generally, if the number one candidate declines the job offer the number two candidate is offered the position. Why not retain the current RBHS principal on an interim basis while conducting another search for a veteran principal with IB experience and background? Was the selection of Mr. Chappelle based upon his being an African-American that has worked with troubled youth? I believe this could be crass politics and possibly more by the interim superintendent and headquarters administration; RBHS certainly deserves better and it would appear that the appointment of this man was not aligned with the search criteria that was set forth when the district began the process to hire a new principal for RBHS.

It would be one thing if Mr. Chappelle had been an assistant principal at RBHS (or even in our district) for years and had been groomed to assume leadership of the school, but what I have seen of his background and experience leads me to have serious concerns as to his ability and preparation for taking the leadership role and addressing the many issues facing the RBHS community. I fear that this gentleman may be getting set up for failure, particularly in light of the recent history the district has had supporting administrators and staff in buildings.

This certainly appears to be more of business as usual from headquarters; we need to stop this madness and work for the return of sound and stable operations for our public schools.


For the sake of the students, let's work together to restore function and order to our district.

Thank you.


Po3 said...

"Why not retain the current RBHS principal on an interim basis while conducting another search for a veteran principal with IB experience and background?"

The two principals had to be removed so RBHS could be categorized as a transformation school and be eligible for Fed funding. So this was not an option.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
anonymous said...

That the RBHS PTSA is pleased with Mr. Chappelle's appointment says alot.

I googled Mr. Chappelle and try as I might I was unable to find one single negative thing about him.

Lets give this man a fair shot, and not be so hasty to pass judgement.

JBC said...

Mr. Menage,

I would suggest that you need to do a little more research before you post on this blog if you are going to choose to use it as a vehicle to promote a campaign for the Seattle School Board.
As has been pointed out, SPS applied for a grant program for RBHS and choose changing the leadership as the transformation model that would be pursued. So having one of the two former principals stay on was not an option. However, separate from that, it would have been a disaster to have either return as a lame duck principal while a search continued. RBHS had a second principal assigned to compensate for the weaknesses of the existing principal, particularly around instructional leadership and teacher evaluation. It sounds like there was never a clear delineation in roles and expectations and on the whole it was rough year and a half. Most of the staff has left the school, including the AP. I know some wanted the first principal to stay alone. He is a very nice person, but isn't capable of moving a school to the next level. I would describe him as being someone well suited to be an AP or an Athletic Director, but not a principal of a comprehensive high school that is in need of a transformation to survive. Why would either of the principals come back to sit as an interim when they have appointments elsewhere? I would certainly want to move forward with a new community rather than be a seat warmer in a situation that was already proven to be a failure.
As for the incoming principal, I believe that he was an AP. It sounds like he had several years of being an administrative intern before becoming an AP. Is the sufficient experience? I don't know. I can tell you that a decade ago, I was more than pleased with the work that John Boyd did with SBOC to establish it as a standalone school separate from South Lake. I believe that he took that position after having a year's AP experience. While I haven't interacted with him since then, I hear nothing but good things about his work at Chief Sealth. Until we meet Mr. Chappelle, I think we should hold off on decrying him as being unable to do the job. Or saying that he must only have gotten the job because he is African American and has worked with troubled youth. If that was all that was needed, then SPS could have saved themselves all the effort and moved Keith Smith down from Franklin.
Also, I believe that you are wrong about his being the second choice. From what I understand (and I suggest you speak with the RBHS PTSA or staff to confirm), Mr. Chappelle was the first choice put forward by the hiring team. He did not initially interview well with Dr. Enfield, so the search was continued. I believe that the community and staff were so impressed with Mr. Chappelle that she agreed to give him another opportunity to prove himself in an interview situation with her. If that is what happened, kudos to Dr. Enfield once again for being willing to listen to the community and not draw lines in the sand.
I would much prefer that you do your campaigning elsewhere, as I find it rather irritating that so many candidates have invaded this blog all of a sudden (save Kate Martin, who has been a long-time posted). That being said, if you are going to campaign here, it would behoove you to do some research prior to posting so that you don't sound so uninformed.

Nick said...

After the math magnet program was removed for RBHS we have focused the school on lowest performing students. What time (measured in decades) has taught us, is that this strategy has does not work. Is there any reason to continue?

mommalina's grace said...

THANK YOU EVERYONE! Having dialogue about RBHS always brings me much joy!

Mr Chapelle was in fact the first choice candidate out of two rounds of interviewing. He was presented to Dr Enfield with a very high score compared to the others and the RBHS PTSA is very happy to accept him as our new Principal.

Please stay tune! Good things are about to happen!

Carlina Brown
RBHS PTSA President

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with JBC. Time will tell if he will be successful, but Mr. Chappelle IS the choice of the RB community involved in the process. mr. Menage - please be more thoughtful about issues and resist the predictable knee jerk this decision must be wrong, grumble, grumble, grumble, negative only repsonses.

Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...


My comment post on this blog was to raise legitimate questions regarding the process that led to this appointment; my comments, questions and concerns that I raise here and elsewhere are from research, experience and knowledge.

The suggestion regarding retaining a current principal was drawn from the position that the district has quite an established history of not following process or procedures, particularly their own. A search for an individual that has had experience serving as an instructional leader for a comprehensive high school and principal of a school involved in significant change could be concluded by August to start the new school year.

Ultimately it is the superintendent that makes the selection of the candidate for principals in all schools. Interesting that you would criticize my knowledge base or understanding regarding the matter, but you submit a guess as to which candidate was number 1 or 2 that appears to be based upon somebody on staff or PTSA or neither?

While I agree with you that Mr. Boyd provided timely and good leadership at SBOC, and that he continues to do very well as leader of Sealth, your apples and oranges comparison between RBHS and SBOC is not applicable to this matter.

I never said that he got the job only because he was African-American, please read what I write carefully before making accusations about my message. If you do not appreciate or agree with my message, you would not be alone but it would be best to refrain from demonstrating such disdain for the messenger.

Best wishes,


Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...


I am thoughtful in what I say and write, here and elsewhere. My posting, as I attempted to explain to JBC, regards questions that need to be asked and considered. One of the main problems with district operations has been the lack of authentic enagement with the community. The way board members and others have been selective in their sources for key decision-making needs to be addressed.

The purpose of this blog and other community comment strands on the internet is to further the discussion and dialogue regarding the key issues that our public schools face. I have been an advocate and supporter of students and teachers long before I threw my hat in the ring for a school board position, and I will continue to do so long after the elections regardless of the outcome.

If you do not like the manner in which I deliver my message of focusing on the students, I am not concerned. If you do not agree with or support my focus and message, I welcome dialogue and debate regarding that...and I believe that is a primary reason many good people post comments on this and other blogs.

Best wishes,


Jamie said...

How nice to hear that the RBHS PTSA is pleased with this decision. It's about time there is some positive news about Beach. Much luck to Mr. Chappelle and the entire RHBS community.

Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...

Uncertain as to why my replies to JBC and GD were removed.

mommalina's grace said...

Dr Menage,
I would begin to tread lightly on your sound bites. We definitely need a change in the School Board but what we do not need is another Director who feels that they know everything and do not need to do the research and or listen to it constituents. You have some work to do! I enjoy your fire but you have made some comments that should have been given some time and research to.

I would begin by announcing a public forum for communication and maybe have a group of people around you who represents the diversity of Seattle Public Schools. It is obvious to me that you need to have either better people or more people helping you. This blog is read by a lot of people and all of us are talking about what is said and WHO says it.

Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...


It is unfortunate that my replies to JBC and GD were removed. I am not submitting sound bites or campaign rhetoric on this or any thread. Also, it is certainly beyond me to ever consider that I have all the answers, knowledge or ability to address matters.

It is my understanding that this blog is intended to further the dialogue and discussion/debate about what is best for the children in our public schools. That is the guiding force behind my comments, questions and critiques that I post; one reason I am truly an unconditional candidate for elected office.

As always, I am open to having my position changed or my persepective altered by reasonable and sound interactions.

Best wishes,


Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...

That should be unconventional candidate....another example of my being imperfect...

For the record, I do speak with and interact with an extremely diverse group of people that are stakeholders in our public schools. Something I will continue throughout my life regardless of what position or place I may find myself.

Anonymous said...

I would like more SB candidates to post their thoughts here on current issues. It gives us a better opportunity to understand them and also may enhance their understanding of situations.

Joy Anderson and Kate Martin have each posted and read this blog regularly long before they filed to run for School Board.

As for T. Menage, I am pleased he engaged in blogging here. He may have learned something and he showed me that he is not afraid of public engagement. (Harium terminated his blog .. the other three never attempted to communicate in a blog forum here or elsewhere.)

I sure wish that the four school directors up for reelection had spent a lot more time on this blog. Each made some horrible decisions ... that were based on "defective logic" if any.

The Board essentially spent a month ducking after their Feb. 3, 2010 NTN contract vote ... for the contract they had not read, which did not match the action report. {These folks are anti-communication} ... Thanks for stepping into the frying pan T. Menage.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I am really encouraged to find that Mr. Chappelle was:
#1 selected as the best candidate by RBHS community
#2 initially rejected by Susan Enfield

My biggest concern has been the selection of lock step candidates that follow the Central Office plan ... Principals need to advocate for what the students and their school needs.

I am reminded of three southeast math teachers testifying that "Discovering Books" won't work with their kids because of lack of practice and lack of clear examples. John Boyd of Sealth testified that every secondary principal was in favor of the adoption.

Good Luck Mr. Chappelle ... welcome to "politically correct Seattle". Hopefully we can provide you with a better school board by December and a different Superintendent for 2012-2013 school year.

-- Dan Dempsey

Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...

In an attempt to repost my reply to JBC and GD,

I am very thoughtful regarding the comments, questions and concerns that I post here and elsewhere. The posting on this thread is not done for campaign purposes, but rather entering into the dialogue and discussion regarding what is best for our students. My posting here and elsewhere on the internet has been prior to my candidacy and will continue long after the elections regardless of the outcomes.

My concerns and questions in my previous comment was regarding the process and the genuine engagement of the RBHS community; additionally, issues were raised regarding the selection of a person that on paper does not meet the established criteria used in the selection of candidates. As the district has a troubled history of not following processes and procedures, particularly those they establish themselves, I believe these are important questions and concerns. It also is well known that the district history has been one of limited engagement with the community and all stakeholders in our schools rather than particular voices with deep pockets.

I agree with the noted success of John Boyd with SBOC and my experience with Mr. Boyd has also been very positive and I am aware of the continued success that he is having as the instructional leader of Chief Sealth. This though is an apples and oranges argument being made as SBOC and RBHS are completely different communities that are not comparable.

Please note, I never stated that Mr. Chappelle was appointed only because he is an African-American that has experience serving troubled youth. My focus and concerns are about the process used in the decision-making; please provide me any comprehensive high school outside of the district that appointed an assistant principal from outside of that district to be principal. This is not a judgment about Mr. Chappelle, it is about what educationally sound process or reasoning was used to make this decision.

Also, it is my understanding that the change in leadership for RBHS was due to federal mandate from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (reauthorized as No Child Left Behind).

Many may not like my message or me personally and that is not a problem for me. My attempts to contribute to the discussion and dialogue/debate regarding what is best for the students in the public schools have predated my candidacy for school board and as I have stated will continue as long as I am still standing.

References to my campaign and website are merely for educational and informational purposes; I speak my mind on this and other sites and leave my campaign material on my campaign website.

Best wishes,


Anna said...

"Also, it is my understanding that the change in leadership for RBHS was due to federal mandate from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (reauthorized as No Child Left Behind)."

Most SPS secondary schools do not take Title I funding, thus are not subject to the NCLB restructuring/closure mandates. In this instance, RBHS was applying for a program that required it to "transform."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Nothing was removed. Sometimes comments go to the Spam filter. I have gone and looked and put comments back. Do not assume you got removed; we have only a couple of reasons for removal.

Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...


Certainly poor choice of words on my part, although I work to avoid making assumptions I will provide extra caution when addressing issues surrounding the posting of comments on this blog. Thank you for clarifying what was happening.

Best wishes,


Jan said...

Dear Mr. Menage: I am happy you are chiming in. My only discomfort with your comments flows from what seems to be an unwarranted put-down of someone whom we have not even met yet, and who deserves at this point our whole-hearted support and commitment as he takes on a job that many of us care passionately about -- the stabiliazation and growth of RBHS. I had no idea when I first posted that he was the first choice of the RBHS community -- now, I am leaping around my office in enthusiastic joy. My original concerns would be that we would get someone who was either:

A. A tired old rerun of the "circulating principal community -- or

B. A "charter school," "Ed reform" type -- whose idea of education is to remove everything except reading and math -- and teach to the high stakes test scores like there is no tomorrow.

I don't live in SE Seattle, but I hope for so much more for RBHS than either of the above -- and this guy at least gives us a chance for a really different approach. I see his past experience as a blend between social work with adolescents and administrative training in public schools. Having had an extremely positive experience with a prior social worker (with NO administrative experience) as a head of school, it at least holds out intriguing promise.

Everything I have ever read about truly transformed schools is that they are led by people who are perceived by the students as caring passionately about them as individuals, not as test scores, or graduation statistics (though those are of course impacted as kids take hold of their futures and take off).

I don't know whether Mr. Chappelle is all I hope for or not -- but the fact that the community picked him is great news indeed.

seattle citizen said...

I'm very glad Rainier Beach has a new principal to lead it into the new year. It appears, from comments here, that Principal Chappelle was a top choice of the interview team, and I am pleased that the president of the RB PTSA, Ms. Brown, displays optimism.
Let us all here not forget, tho', that RB has taken some hits lately...TWO principals!...and might still need some support from the greater community. I hope that the RB community will let us know if and when they need a hand with this or that. I know I would like to support that school, it's got a special place in my heart.

Terrence J. Menage, Ed.D. said...


Thank you. I certainly do not wish to have my concerns mistaken as an unwarranted put down of a person we have not yet met. Although my concerns and questions have been taken by some as knee-jerk reactionary and a rush to judgment, I base them upon district practice and history of decision-making.

The fact that the PTSA has stated Mr. Chappelle was the first choice of the selection committee is truly encouraging. My hopes for the students and families in the RBHS community are that he is able to successfully serve as the instructional leader of the school.

I also believe that significant support from district headquarters as well as all of the stakeholders in our public schools will be needed to help the good people in the region create a powerful learning environment at Rainier Beach.

My hopes are that as more is learned and the district provides more information, we can all be assured that the best instructional leaders are serving as principals for all of our schools.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

That "instructional leader" tag
is way overplayed. I stated in another thread that one of my recent principals would get me out of class to do her discipline because she said "it's not my strong area."

If the principal can juggle all of the incredible interpersonal, safety, and logistical requirements of the job, then that is far more important than being an "instructional leader" (while the ship is sinking).

--some of these "administrators" would go fetal after a day of work in a school

Jan said...

"some of these administrators" -- I think you are right. There are many, many ways to package leadership, both in private enterprise and in public or governmental entities. While certain things "have" to be there -- ethics, passion, intellect, open-mindedness, etc. -- there are lots of ways to slice the "other stuff." Hoping (and wishing) the best for Mr. Chappelle!

Anonymous said...

RBHS has a reputation for being a school that no one cares about. When I read these boards, I am so encouraged by the level of thought and consideration that people are putting into the discussion. It is lovely to see how many people care so passionately about RBHS's future.

I did have a chance to briefly meet Mr. Chappelle and I was extremely impressed by his professionalism and disposition. It is true that time will tell but with the reputation that Beach has, the new folks coming in--Mr. Chappelle, the new AP, and teaching staff--will have to bring the motivation and passion. People know what they are getting into when they work at RBHS. The vast majority are in it because they correctly believe that our south end students are capable of brilliance and worthy of our efforts. I think good things are ahead.