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Kaya Henderson served as the Chancellor of DC Public Schools from 2010-2016. Under her leadership the embattled district become the fastest improving urban school system in the country. Her tenure was marked by consecutive years of enrollment growth, the highest graduation rates in the history of the district, improvements in student satisfaction and teacher retention, increases in AP participation and pass rates, and the greatest growth of any urban district on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) over multiple years.
Henderson began at DCPS as Deputy Chancellor in 2007, overseeing the district’s human resources and human capital work. In this position, she served as chief negotiator for the groundbreaking 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. Her work in developing human capital at DCPS has served as a model for other school districts throughout the country.
Kaya's education career began as a middle school Spanish teacher in the South Bronx, through Teach For America. After serving as a teacher, she went on to work as a recruiter, national admissions director, and DC Executive Director for Teach for America. Following her tenure at TFA, Henderson began her work with The New Teacher Project (TNTP), where she served as the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships.
A native of Mt. Vernon, NY, Kaya Henderson is a graduate of Mt. Vernon Public Schools. Kaya received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and her Master of Arts in Leadership, also from Georgetown, where she also served as an adjunct professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy. She is the honored recipient of two honorary doctorate degrees from Georgetown University and Trinity Washington University.
Henderson is actively involved in a number of community and professional organizations including: Aspen Institute Board of Trustees, College Board Board of Trustees, International Women’s Foundation, Chair of the Board of Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC), Georgetown University Board of Trustees, Pahara Aspen Fellowship, Nevada Leadership Institute, Surge Institute Board of Directors, EdNavigator Board of Directors, and Teach For All Global Advisory Council, She previously served on the Executive Committee of the Council of Great City Schools and the John F. Kennedy Center Board of Trustees.
Kaya is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute Pahara Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.