Shirley Appleman is a senior adviser on the Academic and Program Strategy team within Bellwether’s Strategic Advising practice area. Shirley brings more than 17 years of experience helping individuals, teams, and organizations grow. Since 2018, Shirley has been an independent consultant with a focus on building the capacity of leaders through advising and coaching.
Shirley started her career as a management consultant at Accenture, helping organizations transform through customized training and implementation of change management initiatives. In 2010, driven by a commitment to educational equity, Shirley joined Teach For America, where she taught kindergarten, first grade, and second grade at a founding school in Huntington Park, California, and later transitioned to a principal role. As principal, Shirley led the school’s transition to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and in the following year, her school was ranked No. 1 in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) serving a majority of low-income students, No. 2 in California serving a majority of low-income students, and third-highest performing school overall in LAUSD. Shirley’s impact on the school was sustained during her tenure and eventually led to a National Blue Ribbon School recognition in 2017 from the U.S. Department of Education. Shirley also served as the director of schools for KIPP SoCal Public Schools, where she managed and developed multiple school leaders, created leadership development programming for the network, coached future leaders, and oversaw yearly school planning processes.