Dwane Chappelle

Director, Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL)

In February 2016, the Seattle City Council confirmed Dwane Chappelle to be the first African American Director of the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL). As director, Dwane oversees the city’s efforts in preschool, K-12 and higher education.

Under Dwane’s leadership, DEEL has made incredible strides, including the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise levy, which makes significant investments to close race-based opportunity gaps, expand childcare and preschool, and create two years of free college.

During his first four years as director, Dwane oversaw the passage of the historic Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) levy, approved by voters in 2018 with the stated goal of partnering with families and communities to achieve educational equity, close race-based opportunity gaps, and build a better economic future for Seattle students.

In September of 2020, Dwane’s department announced funding commitments of nearly $100 million for K-12 programs to be invested in partnership with Seattle Public Schools and community-based organizations.

Dwane is resolved to help bring alignment to all Seattle’s educational investments— to transform the lives of children, youth, and families by deploying three key strategies: equitable educational opportunities, student and family supports, and high-quality learning environments.

Prior to this role, he was the principal at Rainier Beach High School. Under Dwane’s leadership and with the support of students, parents, teachers, and the community, the graduation rate at Rainier Beach increased 25 percentage points. By 2014, the school’s graduation rate reached 79 percent, exceeding the district average.

Mr. Chappelle and the Rainier Beach High School community made national news for their efforts in using advanced learning to drive equity by implementing the International Baccalaureate program and ensuring every student had access to these rigorous, high-quality courses.

Under Mr. Chappelle’s tenure, 97% of Rainier Beach seniors scored a 3 or higher, and 35% scored a 4 or higher, on the International Baccalaureate Language and Literature exam. This program has generated widespread acclaim, challenging students to high achievement and winning praise from parents, community members, and PBS NewsHour.

Mr. Chappelle earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Grambling State University and a master's degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He was the recipient of $4.3 million dollars in School Improvement Grant funds, $1.3 million dollars in Urban School Turnaround funds, and was recognized by the New York Times for Fostering Tech Talent in Schools.

12:00PM - 12:40PM

Friday, April 16th

Case Study Panel: Seattle Public Schools

Leaders from Seattle Public School share their story of working with Kingmakers of Oakland and creating their own Office of African American Male Achievement.