Our Senior Leadership Team is deeply committed to the success of every Capital City student. Get to know our leaders below. Please reach out if you have any questions about Capital City.
Karen Dresden is the Head of School and co-founder of Capital City Public Charter School, a diverse, high performing PK-12 school of choice in Washington, DC. She is passionate about achieving academic justice for historically marginalized students and developing all students’ capacity to be leaders and changemakers.
Karen has been an educator for three decades, working first as a teacher in DC Public Schools before becoming the founding principal of Capital City in 2000. Karen was involved in all aspects of the school’s start-up as a PK-8 school. She also led the development of Capital City’s high school program in 2008 which now boasts over 600 graduates, a 100% college acceptance rate, and a college graduation rate for first generation students that exceeds the national average.
Under Karen’s leadership, Capital City has been a model for school reform. The school implements the EL Education model, a hands-on approach that supports students in meeting rigorous academic and character standards. The school has been featured in national case studies and opens its doors to hundreds of visitors annually. The school was honored by two separate visits during the Obama administration. President Obama described Capital City as, “an example of how all schools should be.”
Karen has her M.Ed from Harvard University in Educational Leadership. She also has her M.S. Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. She was a member of the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2015.
Outside of school, Karen enjoys hiking, swimming, biking, vegetarian cooking, traveling and spending time with her son, Darian.
Chip joined Capital City in April 2011 as the Upper School's Technology Integration Specialist. He has a Master of Science in Library Science, a Certificate in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Maryland College Park.
Before coming to Capital City, Chip was the Instructional Multimedia Coordinator and Web Editor at the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC for six years. Prior to that, he worked as a library assistant in Montgomery County Public Schools for three years.
Chip is a 2016 Citybridge Education Innovation Fellow, a yearlong program that introduces teacher leaders to the most promising practices in personalized learning,
As part of the library team, Chip, including High School Librarian & Technology Teacher, Kishanna Harley, and former Library Assistant, Brandy Goffigan, designed and prepared Capital City’s winning CTE Makeover Challenge application for a makerspace that will be a hub of experiential learning in the school’s third-floor computer lab starting October 2016.
Chip enjoys reading, watching movies, playing video games, and spending much of his time in front of a glowing screen.
Dominique joined Capital City in September 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical & Computational Sciences from Stanford University.
She brings with her over a decade of work experience that ranges from Direct Marketing at a non-profit, teaching high school math, and working in Development and Communications at a D.C. think tank.
In her free time, Dominique loves to watch and to perform dances (tap in particular) and she enjoys reading, watching TV, and spending time with her niece and nephew.
Rodney joined Capital City in June 2022. He has completed the Accelerated School Administrator Program at Bridgewater State University, and has earned several degrees — including a Master of Business Administration from Framingham State University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from University of Rhode Island, and an Associate of Science degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Johnson and Wales University.
Prior to joining Capital City, Rodney was a middle school principal at a charter school in Rhode Island, and before that he worked as an assistant principal at a high school. Before working in school leadership positions, Rodney was a classroom teacher in high schools and at a college for nearly 15 years.
He has participated in numerous professional development and training programs, including: the Rhode Island Teach Plus Policy Fellowship in 2018-19; two programs at the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity Foundation — the Facilitative Leadership Training in 2016 and the Critical Friends Group in 2015-16; and two retreat programs at the School Reform Initiative (SRI) — the Winter Facilitator’s Retreat in 2017 and the Summer Educator Retreat in 2018.
Rodney can have a basic conversation in Cape Verdean Creole. He has a love for music, particularly 90s Hip Hop and R&B. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, and some of his favorites are football, basketball, boxing, and mixed martial arts. He is a huge fan of the Buffalo Bills and also enjoys rooting for the Boston Celtics.
Favorite motto/quote: “Tough times don't last, tough people do.”
Míchelle joined Capital City in July 2019 as our Lower School Principal. She holds a Master in Education and Human Development from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Illinois State University, where she graduated summa cum laude.
With 9 years of experience teaching and leading in public schools, Míchelle joins Capital City with a deep expertise in elementary education and an unwavering commitment to educational equity. Prior to Capital City, Míchelle taught in bilingual immersion programs in Illinois and Washington, DC and was both an Assistant Principal and Principal at Mundo Verde Public Charter School. She has received training in Responsive Classrooms, Leading Educators, and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. She was awarded the "Those Who Excel Award for Early Career Educators" from the Illinois State Board of Education in 2013.
Míchelle is fluent in Spanish. She enjoys silly jokes and loves Beyoncé. She is honored to serve as the Lower School Principal and be able to build strong, lasting relationships with students, staff, and families.
Pam first joined Capital City in October 2012 as the Development Associate. She holds a Master in International Development from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a dual Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from Wright State University, where she graduated summa cum laude.
Prior to Capital City, Pam worked for Liberty's Promise, a nonprofit that serves immigrant youth, and oversaw two after-school programs while working on the organization's development and outreach initiatives. She has also served on their Board of Directors. She is currently the President of SW Community Gardens in DC.
Her hobbies include running, cycling, and promoting the great state of Ohio. She is fluent in Spanish.
Wanda joined Capital City in 2004. Prior to becoming Director of Special Populations, she was the Director of Student Services at the Upper School and taught 1st, 2nd and 5th grades at the Lower School campus.
Wanda holds a Master of Arts in Special Education from Catholic University of America and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of the District of Columbia. She also studied nursing at Howard University.
Wanda has over 18 years of experience working in the education field. Prior to Capital City, Wanda taught for four years at Watkins Elementary in Washington, DC. Wanda has been a member of Capital City’s Instructional Leadership Team and has participated on Diversity and Equity Core Committees for the last three years. She was trained at Capital City as a Critical Friends Group Facilitator.
Wanda is currently an Adjunct Special Education Professor at University of Maryland College Park.
Wanda is originally from Charleston, South Carolina and in her free time she loves traveling with her family.
Belicia joined Capital City in 2010 initially as the Instructional Coach and Curriculum Coordinator. She holds a Master in Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Hampton University.
In 2013, Belicia was nationally endorsed as a New Leaders Aspiring Principal. Belicia was named the High School Principal in 2013 after serving as Principal-in-Residence and the retirement of her mentor and founding High School Principal Kathy Byrd.
With over 17 years of experience teaching and leading in schools, this work is her true calling. She has held positions including Grade Dean, Math Instructor and Director of High School Research Program at Georgetown Day School; Admissions Associate, Division III Team Leader, and Math Teacher at Wildwood Secondary School. Additionally, she was a Pre-College Math Instructor at Stanford University.
At Capital City, Belicia has been pivotal in the development of our Tier 1-high school program which goes beyond general DC requirements for graduates. This progress includes a rigorous Senior Expedition course and presentation and the growth of our Advanced Placement (AP) Program.
In 2018, according to Niche.com, under her leadership, the High School was named one of the top HS in Washington, DC for students. In 2016, Capital City PCS was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School with her high school students and Environmental Science teachers completing a strong application.
Belicia is originally from South Carolina. She is currently learning Spanish and in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, reading, listening to music, and collecting elephant statues from her travels.
Favorite quote: "To whom much is given, much is required."
Jonathan joined Capital City in June 2014. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on urban economic development and his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Jonathan has more than 20 years of management experience. Prior to Capital City, he was the Deputy COO at Friendship Public Charter School. He also previously worked as the VP for Facilities and Capital Development at Unity Health Care and as the COO and CFO at Jair Lynch Development Partners.
Jonathan is very involved in the community and has served on the boards of GreenSpace and the Mid-City Business Association, as well as the Leadership Committee of affordable housing developer Manna, Inc. He is working hard to regain his fluency in Spanish.