A Champion of a Dad

June 15, 2023
  • Mary Rudder
  • Mary Rudder
    Director of Communications at Barry-Wehmiller

Our CEO Bob Chapman says good leadership and good parenting are identical.

Truly Human Leadership means sending people home safe, healthy and fulfilled.

If you’re a parent, you want the same things for your children. You want them safe, healthy and fulfilled. You want them to live lives of meaning and purpose.

Good leadership and good parenting are both about taking care of the precious lives entrusted to you.

As this Sunday is Father’s Day in the US (and several other countries around the world), we’re sharing a video about a BW dad who clearly is a good example of both.


As the video above shows, BW President Kyle Chapman was recently honored as one of KIPP: St. Louis’ 2023 Champions of Education. KIPP, which stands for Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national nonprofit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools educating elementary, middle and high school scholars.

About 10 years ago, Kyle moved back from the East Coast to his hometown of St. Louis to launch a new business, BW Forsyth Partners. At the same time, he was looking for a way to engage with and contribute to the community that had given him so much during his early years.

Fortunately, someone introduced him to KIPP and their work to overcome some of the area’s educational challenges. At that time, KIPP:STL had a single middle school that educated about 300 students in grades 5 through 8.

“One of the first people I met was KIPP:STL’s Executive Director Kelly Garrett, who invited me to stop by the school to see the kids in action,” recalls Kyle. “What I saw on that first visit to a classroom truly inspired me. The vibrancy I sensed, cadence of learning underway, engagement of the teacher and kids, college banners hanging on the walls.”

Despite his lack of experience and limited understanding of the issues surrounding St. Louis’ educational system, Kyle knew he was all in.

“I was ready to dive in and provide to as many kids as possible the gift of learning that I saw in that classroom on that first visit,” he said.

Kyle joined KIPP:STL’s Board to lend his experience to an area he knew very well—growth. Although KIPP:STL’s single middle school was a high performing school, it was only serving about 300 kids. Desiring to catch kids earlier in their educational journey, Kyle and the Board supported the effort to open elementary schools for kids in grades K through 4. After that, they focused on starting a high school to keep students longer and help them successfully navigate their path to post-secondary education. Eventually, an early childhood program was added to engage with the youngest KIPPsters as they embark on their educational journey. 

Today, KIPP:STL has the ability to educate more than 3,000 kids from PreK through 12th grade annually.

“Kyle was our Board chair in the final years of this very aggressive growth campaign,” said Garrett. “The stakes were high, but Kyle never wavered in his support for our team and belief in KIPP's ability to achieve this vision. KIPP:STL now educates 10% of all of the children in the City of St. Louis and, given the high rate of our graduates’ college completion, we are on track to double the number of public school students from the City of St. Louis who earn college degrees.” 

Kyle also brought Barry-Wehmiller’s "Truly Human Leadership" approach to leading the Board and supporting KIPP: St. Louis. “His focus on people and on building an organization that puts people first was exactly the right message for us as we finished out our growth plan,” Garrett shared.

“My work with KIPP represents some of the most fulfilling work I have ever done – it has forever changed me,” reflected Kyle. “I am now more knowledgeable about the inconsistencies that exist regarding access to high-quality education–an opportunity every child deserves. And I am determined to continue helping the KIPP:STL team remain dedicated to ensuring that zip codes do not determine educational outcomes for our children.”

At the Champions Breakfast to award Kyle the honor, KIPP students and faculty showcased the vibrancy Kyle witnessed in the classroom on that first day—high energy step dance performances, a colorful collection of student art, impassioned speeches from students and graduates. But the biggest honor for Kyle that morning may have been the special guests in attendance--his family--who shared with us what makes their father a good leader. (Watch the video to hear their comments.)

Good leadership. Good parenting. Both focused on taking care of the precious lives entrusted to us. Both focused on helping them live lives of meaning and purpose.  From the KIPP kids to his four kids, Kyle is helping make those hopes a reality.

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Need help in applying principles of Truly Human Leadership in your organization? Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute is Barry-Wehmiller's leadership consulting firm that partners with other companies to create strategic visions, engage employees, improve corporate culture and develop outstanding leaders through leadership training, assessments and workshops.

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