Kaya Henderson stepped down Friday as head of D.C. Public Schools, after serving longer than all but one of her predecessors. Prior to her six years as chancellor, Henderson spent three years as top deputy to her close friend, Michelle Rhee.
The Rhee/Henderson era was marked by great fanfare, but limited results. What overall gains were made masked a painful truth: the achievement gap – between higher and lower-income students, and between white, black and Hispanic students – grew.
In 2007, despite no experience running a school system, Rhee was named chancellor. She quickly became known for mass teacher firings and school closings.
Henderson succeeded Rhee, providing DCPS with a friendlier face while continuing to carry out their shared vision.
In their near-decade atop DCPS, Rhee and Henderson oversaw unprecedented instability.