DEEL Director Dwane Chappelle

The Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) was created to facilitate the City of Seattle's support for the educational and developmental needs of children in Seattle birth to preschool, students in Seattle's public schools, students in postsecondary programs, and their families. DEEL is responsible for leadership, direction, policy development, interdepartmental and interagency communication and coordination for early learning programs and education programs and policies and serves as the City's higher education liaison.  

DEEL works in partnership with the Seattle School District No. 1 (Seattle Public Schools), the Seattle Colleges, government agencies, and community-based organizations to: 

  • Invest in Seattle children, students, families, and communities who have been historically underserved to increase access to educational opportunities across the education continuum. 
  • Assure data-driven and outcomes-based decision making.  
  • Implement or continue evidence-based strategies and promising practices to improve program quality and achieve equity in educational outcomes.  
  • Provide access to capacity-building opportunities among partner organizations for historically underserved Seattle communities to improve program instruction, quality, and infrastructure. 


The mission of the Department of Education and Early Learning is to transform the lives of Seattle's children, youth, and families through strategic investments in education. We envision a city where all children, youth, and families have equitable opportunities and access to high quality education services, support, and outcomes.


DEEL is guided by our values of Equity, Results, Stewardship, Transparency, and Collaboration.


What we want for all children, youth, and families in Seattle:

  1. All Seattle families have access to quality, affordable childcare.
  2. All Seattle children are ready for kindergarten.
  3. All Seattle students graduate high school ready for college.
  4. All Seattle youth attain a certificate, credential, or degree.
  5. Educational disparities are eliminated for children and youth furthest from educational justice.


We pursue these results through three key strategies:

  1. Equitable educational opportunities.
  2. Student and family supports.
  3. High quality learning environments.


The Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) stands in solidarity with our children, students, families, and communities against all acts of racism. 

DEEL uses its power and privilege, as the education agency within the City of Seattle to dismantle racially-biased systems and processes, to advocate for our communities within government, and to share power and resources within our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPoC) community.


Dr. Dwane ChappelleDr. Dwane Chappelle is Seattle's first Director of the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), serving since February 2016 when he was first confirmed to the role by City Council. Dr. Chappelle oversees the City of Seattle's efforts to partner with families and communities to achieve educational equity, close race-based opportunity gaps, and build a better future for Seattle students through strategic investments in education. In September 2020, he was unanimously reconfirmed by City Council to continue in his role through January 2024.

Prior to becoming DEEL's Director, Dr. Chappelle was principal of Rainier Beach High School, where the graduation rate increased by 25 percent under his leadership. Dr. Chappelle graduated from Grambling State University and earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Gonzaga University.

2020: Director Dwane Chappelle Reconfirmed in His Role as Head of Department of Education and Early Learning through 2024