New English teacher skates into town


Photo by Paul Apfelbeck

Mr. Anthony Capadona


Incoming English teacher Anthony Capadona learned how to teach literally on his mother’s lap.

“When she was going to college, she would always take me to classes,” he said. “I’ve always been around school.”

Mr. Capadona’s mother, Gia Capadona, eventually went on to be a middle school English teacher in San Francisco, where she has taught for the past 15 years. “I’m a second-generation English teacher,” he said, crediting his mother with the reason for becoming an English teacher.

He didn’t take the direct route into the classroom, though. Much of Mr. Capadona’s journey took place on a skateboard.

After graduating high school, he skateboarded his way around the world throughout his twenties and early thirties. Those experiences included a stint as the part-owner of a skateboard shop and a teacher on Air Force bases around the world showing others how to use the board.

Mr. Capadona most recently taught in Emmonak, where he spent two years teaching English at the high school. He’ll be teaching creative writing and American literature on the GILA campus.

Asked where he lived as a child, Mr. Capadona said “everywhere,” which meant southern California, Santa Barbara, Irvine, Newport Beach, San Francisco, and six months living in Switzerland.

“I picked up surfing in Santa Barbara,” he said, but as later moves pulled him away from the ocean, skateboarding took over.

“Skateboarding kind of became my identity,” he said. “Books and skateboarding were my only outlet.”

He graduated from San Luis Obispo High School in 1992. Activities? “Skateboarding,” he said.

After high school, Mr. Capadona “traveled the states,” landing from place to place, networking with fellow skateboarders, working when he could, and moving on when the urge struck. “I had a network of friends that I met,” he said.

For a few years, the skateboard experience was replaced by work as a file clerk for a bankruptcy firm – just in for the bubble to collapse. There was plenty to do. “That was a wild time,” he said.

The allure of the skateboard tugged on his spirit, though. “I took a leap of faith and left the city,” he said, moving to Eau Claire, Wisc., in 2002 to become part-owner of a skateboard shop.

“I took care of it in the winter, and in the summer, I taught skateboarding,” he said. “I was totally immersed.”

During his immersion, he attracted the attention of a consulting agency that dealt with skateboard parks on Air Force bases. “Roughly 90 percent of Air Force bases have skateboard parks,” he said. So the consulting agency approached him and asked him to develop a curriculum for those using the parks.

“I like to watch other people learn,” he said. “There was no book with skateboarding.”

For the next several years, Mr. Capadona traveled around the world, teaching soldiers how to skateboard at Air Force bases in the United States, Turkey, Japan, Okinawa, Guam, and South Korea.

When his contract ended, Mr. Capadona was at a crossroads. “’I was ready to sit still,” he said.

In quick order, he obtained an associate’s degree with an emphasis in English from Santa Barbara City College, a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a teaching certificate from Portland State University.

“It’s weird to come full circle,” he said. “Now I’m teaching English at a defunct Air Force base.”

He said that there’s a possibility that he’ll be teaching skateboarding skills to students at GILA this year.

“My goal is to help students find their inner voice and their purpose,” he said.