New SM North principal Dave Tappan looking to continue traditions and values that define the school

Dave Tappan
New SM North principal Dave Tappan. His key to the City of New Orleans is behind him on the wall in his office.

Dave Tappan has an honorary key to the city of New Orleans, though he has never been there. He had a ticket and was in the stands for the World Series, but he never saw the game. He is a left-handed first baseman who moved from California to Kansas to play baseball.

And, he is the new principal at SM North.

Asked what he would like the community to know about him, Tappan replied: “That I truly care about each individual student.”

This is only Tappan’s second year in the Shawnee Mission School District, but he has spent 24 years in education. After one year as associate principal at SM West, Tappan is replacing Richard Kramer to guide SM North.

Taipan spent 13 years at Louisburg High School with the last six of those years as principal. He says his year at SM West was helpful to acclimate to the larger school district.

The new principal wants to carry on the traditions and values of North, giving every student the opportunity to be successful after they walk across the stage at graduation. “I want students to be planning for what’s after high school,” Tappan said. Whether that means college, work or the military, Tappan wants them to be ready with the academic and social skills they need for “employability.”

The outside support systems at North, Tappan said, are “impressive,” including the boosters, PTSA and the greater community.

The SM North culture “is very accepting and very authentic,” Tappan has found.

Back to that key to the City of New Orleans and the World Series. Tappan grew up in San Diego. A friend got them tickets to a World Series game in San Francisco. But it was 1989 and Tappan was there on the night of the earthquake that hit before the game started.

In the confusion after the earthquake, Tappan and his friends helped some gentlemen from New Orleans, one of whom was disabled, get back to their hotel. They were invited to dinner and the men took their contact information.

Unknown to Tappan and his friends, the new acquaintances apparently were connected in New Orleans. A short time later, the honorary key to the city, signed by the mayor, arrived by way of appreciation for the good deed.

He left California to play college baseball at Baker University, where he got his undergraduate degree.

He and his wife have two children.