Henderson eager to come home

Published 10:40 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Juan Henderson was up bright and early Wednesday morning when he took the time to speak with The Messenger.

“I’m having to get up early to pack and go through some old things,” he said.

Two hours behind central time, Henderson lives in the greater Las Vegas area, but he is packing up his belongings in preparation for a move to Troy.

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With 17 years experience as an educator, he is returning to Pike County to be the next principal of Troy Elementary School.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get back to work,” said Henderson, who will have that opportunity when he officially takes the reins on July 1.

“I’ve got to come in and help create a positive environment and climate and talk with parents and teachers and make sure the elementary school continues to be one of the best schools in the area.”

In doing so, he will be on familiar turf, and he’ll be working with some familiar faces.

Henderson graduated from Charles Henderson High School in 1988 before obtaining both a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s degree in elementary education at Troy State University. He obtained an educational specialist degree in elementary education at Auburn University Montgomery, where he also completed the K-12 Administration program. Henderson has also completed some work towards a Doctorate in Elementary Education ,and he plans on continuing that pursuit.

His teaching career began in the early 1990’s.

“I was hired at Troy Elementary as a first grade teacher’s aide,” Henderson said.

He then team-taught fourth and fifth grade at TES before he was handed the keys to his own classroom the next year.

“Following that year, I was hired as a fourth grade teacher,” he said.

Henderson held that position from 1994 to 1997. After that he landed his first administrative position at TES, where he was the assistant principal for six years. In his final year in the Troy City School system, Henderson served as the interim principal in the absence of Geoffrey Spann.

Now, after spending more than half of his career in Troy, Henderson will return. He’ll bring with him some extra invaluable experience though, having racked up six more years of knowledge out west.

Henderson has worked as an assistant principal in Nevada’s Clark County School System, the fifth largest school system in the nation. He was also the top administrator of North Las Vegas’ first charter school.

“We started from the ground up with 500 kids,” Henderson said.

Now, hundreds of parents in Troy are hoping he can take what he has learned and make good things happen here.

He won’t try to do it alone though.

Henderson plans on talking with former mentor and outgoing principal Spann, and he said he’ll be working close with fellow elementary school administrators Cynthia Thomas and Teresa Sims, the central office, staff and parents.

“I want to continue to implement the programs they’ve started and work with stakeholders to make it even better,” Henderson said.

“With it being a small town you get a chance to work with the people,” he added, saying that student achievement will remain a focal point.

Henderson is married to his wife Dana who is a veterinarian. His mother, Jeanette, is a retired TCS special education teacher. His father Maceo, retired as a Sergeant Major from the U.S. Army. Both still reside in Troy.

Henderson’s oldest child Sarina just graduated from CHHS and will be attending Alabama State University in the fall. Henderson said he is glad to be bringing his other two children back to Alabama.

“An opportunity to get back home and have them in that environment, that’s good,” Henderson said.

Chandler, 5, will start kindergarten at TES this school year while Darian, 2, will have to wait a few years.

Parents and the rest of the community who haven’t already met Henderson will have their first opportunity to do so at a “Meet our Principals Day” which will take place at TES on July 1, at 3 p.m.