- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

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

The council signed off on Ms. Henderson, who has served as acting chancellor of D.C. Public Schools since March 9, after several community meetings around the city 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. She has said she is dedicated to fighting truancy, establishing a culture of respect and addressing school funding inequities.

Her confirmation to lead the 45,000-student school system was widely expected.

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 that 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 D.C. Public Schools 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 biography provided by D.C. Public Schools.

She taught Spanish at a South Bronx middle school before becoming a recruiter for Teach for America and executive director of the organization’s D.C. region. Beginning in 2000, she worked on recruiting, training and policy improvement efforts before being named deputy chancellor for D.C. Public Schools in 2007.