Who was Kendyl Depoali?
Kendyl Ruth Williams Depoali was an extraordinary educator who had a significant and lasting impact on education in Washoe County.
A fourth generation Nevadan, she was born in Reno, Nevada on April 4, 1950 to Kenneth C. and Shirley Campbell Williams. She graduated from Sparks High School in 1968 and the University of Nevada (Reno) in 1972. She received her Masters Degree in Educational Administration from the University in 1978.
She began her 33-year career with the Washoe County School District at Clayton Middle School in 1974. She then continued on to teach at McQueen High School. She was a master teacher, and over her teaching career, taught subjects as diverse as home economics, geography, German, English, math, art, history, government, sociology, science and speech and debate. She was particularly proud of her role as an Advance Placement teacher at McQueen High School. She also taught at the University of Nevada in Reno.
Her dedication to public education continued when she entered administration with the School District in 1997. She served as Vice Principal at Hug High School, Curriculum Coordinator, Principal of Sparks High School, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education and finally as Superintendent for Public Policy, Special Projects and Legislation.
She also served on the national selection committee for the Horatio Alger Scholarship Program, served on the Board of Directors for the Education Collaborative for Washoe County, served as a national faculty member for the National Geographic Society and received numerous awards and honors for her long and distinguished career as a preeminent educator of her time.
Kendyl was the driving force behind the development of the K-16 Data Profile and the adoption of the Gateway Course of Study for WCSD and the state of Nevada in the last years of her life.
Her philosophy on teaching was that it is an art and a science and is an extraordinarily creative process. You take the subject matter and present it in compelling, effective manner. When it works, it is a joy to behold. She touched the lives of countless students and her impact on those students was immense.
Her actions in education reflected her basic principles: Expect students and teachers to have high expectations for themselves, always do what is right for students, create and meet high standards in public education for all kids and all schools, and prepare students for success beyond the public school system. Kendyl Depoali died of cancer at age 57 just three months after her illness forced her to retire from the WCSD.
In a 2003 Sparks High graduation speech, Kendyl exemplified her faith in the potential of the Washoe County School District and its students. She wrote, “Public education allows us to frame our own futures to choose what those futures will be regardless of gender, skin color, disability, or wealth. Public education is the great opener of doors, the leveler of playing fields, the purveyor of equal opportunities. This country rewards effort, hard work, and education. You’ve got a good start, but get as much education as you can.”
She died September 17, 2007, in her home, at age 57, just three short months after her illness forced her to retire from the WCSD, following a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Although her life was cut short, her legacy is long and enduring.
Kendyl felt strongly about the importance of highly qualified teachers and about the impact excellent teachers have on our students. This scholarship reflects that ideal. Her family would like to thank everyone who made a contribution to this scholarship and who supported naming the new middle school after her.