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Kaya Henderson Gets High Marks At Confirmation Hearing

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D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson (left) was appointed by Mayor Vincent Gray (right) in March.  The D.C. Council confirmed her appointment Tuesday.
Kavitha Cardoza
D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson (left) was appointed by Mayor Vincent Gray (right) in March. The D.C. Council confirmed her appointment Tuesday.

All of the council members who appeared at the day-long hearing proclaimed their support for Henderson, who took over the job last fall from her former boss, Michelle Rhee. And for the most part, that was true of the public witnesses who testified.

While a few witnesses said the city should've conducted a national search for schools chancellor, the majority gave Henderson high marks for her ability to keep the education reform movement on track while paying more attention to community stakeholders. It was a point Henderson drove home in her testimony to the council.

"The past eight months have served to remind me that we cannot improve quality education that our students receive without great people, great schools, making great community connections," Henderson said.

Henderson told the council she has a number of priorities: fixing the special education system, creating more rigorous standards, and doing a better job of connecting and sharing information with parents, teachers, and communities.

"While there is still much work to be done, we have changed the expectations people have for DCPS."

Nathan Saunders, head of the Washington Teacher's Union and frequent critic of former chancellor Michelle Rhee, testified that he doesn't oppose Henderson's confirmation, and added she "has no sworn enemies" in the union.

The vote is scheduled for June 21.

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