Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Interim D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson accepts reform challenge

Speaking of DC, the Washington Post had a nice profile of interim (and hopefully someday permanent) chancellor Kaya Henderson:

Henderson, a school principal's daughter from Mount Vernon, N.Y., first met Rhee in Los Angeles in 1992 when they joined Teach for America as young recruits eager to change the face of public education. "We were all sort of with the same pedigree," Henderson said. "We were hungry, driven, hellbent."

Henderson taught middle school Spanish in the Bronx and eventually became TFA's national director of admissions. By 2000, she said, she had grown so frustrated with how school systems recruited and trained teachers that she was preparing to enter Harvard's urban superintendent program - not to run her own district but to become a consultant.

Rhee lured her to do the same work for the nonprofit Rhee had just founded, the New Teacher Project, where she worked to recruit teachers for the District, one of the firm's clients. Henderson also helped write two of the organization's most influential reports. "Missed Opportunities" examined the questionable personnel practices of some school districts, including late-summer hiring decisions that cause systems to lose some of their most promising teaching candidates. "Unintended Consequences" studied the effect of collective bargaining provisions that restrict the ability of school systems to transfer teachers from school to school.

Henderson was Rhee's first hire when she was named chancellor, and many of their decisions have been informed by the findings of those studies.


Interim D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson accepts reform challenge

By Bill Turque

Washington Post Staff Writer 
Thursday, October 14, 2010; 7:18 PM


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