On June 21, 2011, the DC Council confirmed Kaya Henderson as Chancellor of DC Public Schools.
A native of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Henderson was born on July 1, 1970, and attended Mt. Vernon public schools, where she graduated from Mt. Vernon High School with honors. Henderson was strongly influenced by her late mother, Kathleen Henderson, an educator who became a school principal at the age of 30. The elder Henderson worked in Yonkers, New York City and Long Island Public Schools.
Kaya Henderson received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and her Master of Arts in leadership, also from Georgetown University.
Her education career began as a middle school Spanish teacher in the South Bronx. After serving as a teacher, Kaya Henderson went on to work as a recruiter, national admissions director, and DC Executive Director for Teach for America.
In 2000, Henderson began her work with The New Teacher Project, where she became the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships. She came to DCPS 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 DCPS 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 DCPS. Henderson’s work in developing human capital at DCPS has served as a model for other school districts throughout the country.
As Chancellor, Kaya 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 DCPS with other districts and countries in national and international conferences.