Head of School
Capital City Public Charter School
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.