Innovators of Color

Kaya Henderson



Kaya Henderson is the CEO of Reconstruction, a technology company delivering a K-12 supplemental curriculum that situates Black people, culture, and contributions in an authentic, identity-affirming way, so that students of all backgrounds benefit from a more complete understanding of our shared history and society. She is also the co-host of Pod Save the People, and leads Kaya Henderson Consulting.

She is perhaps best known for serving as Chancellor of DC Public Schools from 2010-2016. Her tenure was marked by consecutive years of enrollment growth, an increase in graduation rates, improvements in student satisfaction and teacher retention, increases in AP participation and pass rates, and the greatest growth of any urban district on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) over multiple years.

Kaya's career began as a middle school Spanish teacher in the South Bronx, through Teach For America. She went on to work as a recruiter, national admissions director, and DC Executive Director for Teach for America. Henderson then served as the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at The New Teacher Project (TNTP) until she began her tenure at DCPS as Deputy Chancellor in 2007. She most recently led the Global Learning Lab for Community Impact at Teach For All, supporting educators in more than 50 countries.

A native of Mt. Vernon, NY, Kaya graduated from Mt. Vernon Public Schools. She received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and her Master of Arts in Leadership from Georgetown University, as well as honorary doctoral degrees from Georgetown and Trinity University. Her board memberships include The Aspen Institute, Curriculum Associates, Robin Hood NYC, and Teach For America, and she is the co-founder of Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC).