President Patricia McGuire announced that D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson will be the 2014 Commencement speaker and honoree at Trinity Washington University. “I am very honored to work with Chancellor Henderson on RaiseDC and other important initiatives to improve educational outcomes for the D.C. Schools,” said President McGuire, “and I know she appreciates and supports the great work that our students, faculty and graduates do in our local schools.” Trinity’s Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 17, at 4:00 p.m. Henderson will be presented with an honorary doctor of letters for her leadership in education.
Henderson is a graduate of Georgetown University where she received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from the School of Foreign Service and her master’s degree in leadership. She became a middle school Spanish teacher in the South Bronx early in her career, and from that teaching position she joined Teach for America as a recruiter, national admissions director, and executive director of the D.C. program. President McGuire noted, “When Teach for America first came to D.C. in the late 1990s, Trinity and Ms. Henderson forged a strong partnership since Trinity was one of the first teacher education sites for the TFA participants. Since that time, as Ms. Henderson’s career has progressed into major system leadership, she has remained a great friend to Trinity.”
In 2000, Henderson began her work with The New Teacher Project, where she became the vice president for strategic partnerships. She came to D.C. Public Schools as deputy chancellor in 2007. During her time as deputy chancellor, she oversaw the District’s human resources and human capital work. In this position, she served as chief negotiator for the groundbreaking 2010 contract between D.C. Public Schools and the Washington Teachers’ Union, and led the development of IMPACT, a new and innovative professional development and assessment system designed to ensure that an effective teacher is leading every classroom in D.C. Public Schools. Henderson’s work in developing human capital in D.C. schools has served as a model for other school districts throughout the country.
As chancellor, Henderson is committed to holding all students to high expectations, providing them with access to high quality teachers and leaders, and creating the most rigorous and innovative instructional environments to ensure their success. She has shared the successful strategies developed at D.C. Public Schools with other districts and countries in national and international conferences. Henderson’s passion for education was strongly influenced by her late mother, Kathleen Henderson, an educator who worked in Yonkers, New York City and Long Island Public Schools, and who became a school principal at the age of 30.
President McGuire noted that, “Since Trinity’s founding, professional careers in education have been among the top employment fields for Trinity graduates, whether those earning graduate degrees in specific educational disciplines, or our undergraduate liberal arts alumnae who have gone on to careers as teachers, school leaders, counselors and active volunteers and advocates with schools. Forging strong ties with local school officials has been a longstanding practice for Trinity, and we are eager to continue the dialogue about all of the critical issues at stake in today’s educational environment.”
Trinity Washington University was founded in 1897 and today enrolls more than 2,500 students. Trinity offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs for students of all ages. More than 350 undergraduate and graduate diplomas will be conferred at Trinity’s 111th Commencement.