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Michael Watenpaugh, Ed.D. 

ESS Consultant 
Education Support Services Group 


Cell: (415) 250-3727


Dr. Michael Watenpaugh has more than 38 years of experience in K-12 education. His service as a superintendent included twelve years at San Rafael City Schools, and five years at Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District.

Dr. Watenpaugh began his career in the Capistrano Unified School District, serving as an instructional assistant, classroom teacher, and Assistant Principal. His career continued after moving to Northern California where he served as an elementary principal, middle school principal, Director of Personnel, and Assistant Superintendent.

Following undergraduate study at UC Irvine, Dr. Watenpaugh received his Master’s in School Management from the University of La Verne, and a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne. In addition, Dr. Watenpaugh has participated in leadership symposiums at both Harvard and Stanford Universities.

Dr Watenpaugh is a recognized advocate and leader for educational equity, partnering with The National Equity Project and the National Coalition for Community Schools. He has been involved with numerous professional organizations, including the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), the National Coalition of Community Schools, the California Latino School Administrators Association (CALSA), the California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA) and the Superintendent’s Association of Northern California.

Throughout his career, Dr. Watenpaugh has been recognized for his contributions to the students and schools within the communities he has served. In 2015, he was named Marin County Educator of the Year. In 2007 he was honored as Sonoma County Superintendent of the Year, and, in 2003, he was selected as the City of Novato Educator of the Year.

Since retiring in 2020, Dr. Watenpaugh has provided leadership coaching to new superintendents and conducted board governance workshops.