03/05/12 — Henderson to battle for at-large board seat

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Henderson to battle for at-large board seat

By Staff Reports
Published in News on March 5, 2012 1:46 PM

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Len Henderson

Len Henderson, appointed to the Board of Education by the county commission in July 2010 to fill the District 2 seat vacated by Shirley Sims, has filed for re-election for a different seat on the board.

Henderson is running for the at-large seat currently held by Eddie Radford, who had earlier filed for his second term on the board.

Squaring off now for the District 2 opening are Ven Faulk and Dwight Cannon.

Henderson said in his nearly 20 months on the board, he has seen the need for the board to become more actively involved in producing a better quality of education for students.

"I know that we have some excellent administrators, educators and students in our school system," he said. "I realize that we need to become more aggressive in finding other streams of revenue in order to provide the best quality education we expect for all children in the Wayne County Schools."

Suggesting the district be more "fiscally responsible" in its decisions, especially in the areas of facilities and other budgetary needs, Henderson said the board could benefit from "transformational leadership" to improve the local educational system.

Henderson said he feels there needs to be a stronger collaboration with elected officials to address some of the "societal problems plaguing our children."

Whether it be through the development of school improvement plans or technology plans, or anticipating the possible addition of charter schools, he said there should be concerns about the fiscal effect they have on quality of education.

Henderson said he will continue to advocate for more parental involvement.

"We must allow parents to help in the decision-making at the local school level," he said. "Parental involvement is one of the greatest weaknesses within our system today. My major concern is that parents should have more voice in some of the decisions that affect their child's education."

His other areas of concern, he said, are suspensions and disciplinary reassignments, the effectiveness of the district's alternative learning programs and the quality of programs offered. Attention must be paid to factors contributing to students' ability to succeed, he noted.

"I believe that we must hold all accountable -- the board, administration, teachers, parents and students for the efforts made to improve this school system," he said. "We need to have data that helps to drive our decision-making and we must share that data with all.

"These are the things that I feel are lacking with our current system and must be corrected in order to make our children globally competitive in the 21st century. I am willing to work toward that end, always mindful of what is best for all the students in the Wayne County Public School system."

Henderson, a graduate of Southern Wayne High School and N.C. Central University, obtained a masters degree in health services administration from Central Michigan University in 2003.

He served as president of the State Employees Association of North Carolina from 1995-96 and during his time on the school board has utilized the opportunity to serve on committees and familiarize himself with the district.

"I have toured many of the schools, spoken with principals, teachers and parents to help determine the greatest needs of our school system," he said. "I have been and will continue to be an advocate for improving the quality of education in Wayne County."

He and wife, Renee, have two daughters and four grandchildren, three currently enrolled in Brogden middle and primary schools.