Dr. James L. Henderson has several core beliefs:
- High expectations for all children
- Professional Learning Communities ensures academic success for students
- Parents and the entire community as partners ensure successful schools
- Nonacademic needs must also be met to ensure students’ academic success, and
- Education should prepare our youth for life and if a child fails, the system fails
Dr. Henderson is a creative, energetic, visionary, strategic and effective leader who has been dedicated to leveling the playing field for all children, teachers, parents and communities for twenty-five years—fifteen of which have been served at the senior cabinet level.
- Superintendent (3,100 students)
- Associate Superintendent for academic support (27,000 students)
- Chief Human Resources officer (27,000 students)
- Chief of Staff (deputy superintendent) (5,300 students)
- District (area) superintendent (210,000 students)
- Assistant Superintendent for human resources (10,000 students)
- Executive Director for human resources (27,000 students)
- Director for Human Resources (160,000 students)
Dr. Henderson has demonstrated skills in human resource management, fiscal management, public relations, curriculum and instruction and school/ community partnerships. Dr. Henderson launched several historic initiatives in the Holmes County Consolidated School District where he began working July 2018:
- Instituted comprehensive college-ready curriculum
- Created data tracker for individual students K-12
- Floated school bond within one year of arrival to address crumbling school buildings throughout the county
- Generated a cost savings of $1.5M in a reorganization of the newly developed consolidated district.
- Published a Compensation Manual to illustrate compensation and benefits philosophy.
- Published Staffing Formula Manual to equitably allocate staff to schools.
- Eliminated corporal punishment from the discipline plan—a change which made national headlines.
- Trained educators to integrate Restorative Practice and to execute its already-instituted Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) with increased fidelity.
- Launched a new, user-friendly Holmesccsd.org website providing district information and updates.
- Established direct link for parents to reach out to the Superintendent directly from the district website and via personal mobile phone
- Established social media platform accounts for the district to provide two-way communication mechanisms for all stakeholders.
- Implemented a Student Advisory Roundtable of grades 9-12 students to advise the Superintendent on issues from the students’ perspective.
- Designed and opened the Graduates Within Reach Academy, an intensive credit-recovery online-learning program.
- Elevated the grading standard: passing grade is 70% to demonstrate mastery of material and maintain eligibility for MISSHSAA athletics and activities.
- Instituted Honors Courses in middle school.
- Added Advanced Placement courses and additional Honors Courses to the HS course catalog
- Opened the Doretha Draine Wiley (DDW) Fine Arts Magnet Academy at Holmes County Central High School (HCCHS) including media studies via an MOU with the Jackson State Univ. Department of Journalism and Media Studies.
- 1:1 Computing: includes new laptops for all teachers and administrators
Dr. Henderson expresses his belief in the potential of children and his aspirations for school improvement by inspiring those around him to THINK BIG, to strategize for success and to execute with excellence. His platform of personal ethics reveals itself in his professionally generous encouragement of staff education to fulfill their individual potential in order to improve the lives of children. Dr. Henderson has worked in several districts serving student populations ranging from 5,200 to 210,000 in both urban and suburban environments.
Free-lance journalist Casey Parks (caseyparks.com) is shadowing Dr. Henderson this year as she develops a major piece on rural education in America, funded by the Spencer Fellowship for Education from Columbia University. Dr. Henderson welcomes Ms. Parks’ attention to the district as she learns what it’s like to turn around an F-rated district in the poorest county of the poorest state in the US.
A native Mississippian and the fifteenth child in a family of 16 children, Dr. Henderson learned collaboration and diplomacy at home. He credits his parents and siblings for his educational success as he was the first of his siblings to receive a post- secondary education -- earning a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Jackson State University, a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Prairie View A&M University of Texas and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from St. John’s University in Queens, New York. Dr. Henderson has been recognized as Teacher-of-the-Year for the Houston Area Alliance of Black School Educators, HISD’s Hamilton Middle School Teacher-of-the-Year, Houston Independent School District’s Teacher-of- the-Year Finalist, and the Texas Legislative Black Caucus Outstanding Texan Award in Education. Most recently, Dr. Henderson was selected among hundreds of applicants for the renowned American Association of School Administrators (AASA)) / Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy—a year-long superintendent preparation program. He is also a life-long member of the OMEGA PSI PHI Fraternity, Incorporated service organization. Dr. Henderson acclaims his wife, Victoria, a fellow educator, and their two college-age daughters, Jalyn and Jayme, for their ever-loving support and encouragement. His daughters—the hopes of his family—remind him daily of the promise of this generation of students who will soon lead our global society.