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D.C. Council confirms Henderson as schools chancellor

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The D.C. Council on Tuesday unanimously approved Kaya Henderson as the District's new public schools chief.

The council signed off on Ms. Henderson, who has served as acting chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) since March 9, after several meetings around the District and a lengthy confirmation hearing last week at the John A. Wilson Building.

Council members praised Ms. Henderson for her professionalism and outreach efforts at schools across the District.

Critics had voiced concerns about Ms. Henderson's links to the former chancellor, Michelle A. Rhee, whose tenure was marked by teacher downsizing and modern approaches to education. They also called for a national search for the position, arguing Ms. Henderson would rise to the top if she is the best candidate.

In remarks from the dais, Council Member Marion Barry on Tuesday called on DCPS and the council to create equitable funding and expedite capital improvements in schools across all wards.

"We can't continue the snail's-pace approach," said Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat.

Ms. Henderson, 40, is a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., and received bachelor's and master's degrees from Georgetown University, according to her DCPS biography.

She taught Spanish at a South Bronx middle school before becoming a recruiter for Teach for America and executive director of Teach for America-DC. Beginning in 2000, she worked on recruiting, training and policy improvement efforts before being named deputy chancellor in 2007.

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