Nisqually official picked for seat on state Board of Education

Bill Kallappa
Bill Kallappa Bill Kallappa

A Nisqually Indian Tribe official has been picked to fill a vacant seat on the Washington State Board of Education.

Bill Kallappa has worked for the tribe since 2010, helping launch after-school and athletic programs at the Nisqually Youth and Community Center before becoming interim education director. Before that he worked on youth activities for the Squaxin Island Tribe and at Tumwater School District as a special education teacher’s assistant and athletic coach.

His appointment to the Board of Education by Gov. Jay Inslee was announced last week. The board sets graduation requirements and other policies for K-12 schools in the state.

Kallappa, an enrolled Makah tribal member, told The Olympian he hopes to be an advocate on the board for marginalized students, including Native American students and those who are homeless, in foster care or who have special needs.

“Our kids aren’t failing us, we’re failing them. We need to work harder,” he said. “It’s hard work to make those personal connections with each and every student, but that’s the work that’s called upon us as educators.”

Kallappa lives in Tumwater, where he serves on the city’s parks and recreation commission. His appointment to the Board of Education was effective immediately and goes through January 2023.

Abby Spegman joined The Olympian in 2017. She covers the city of Olympia and a little bit of everything else. She previously worked at newspapers in Oregon, New Hampshire and Hawaii.