The Charlottesville City School Board announced that they have appointed James M. Henderson as Acting Superintendent to succeed Superintendent Dr. Rosa S. Atkins, whose retirement is effective May 31. Mr. Henderson will begin work June 1.
Mr. Henderson is a June 2020 retiree of Charlottesville City Schools following a career at the school division that spanned more than four decades, starting in 1975 at Clark Elementary, where he began teaching after his graduation from Virginia Tech. He also taught at Jackson-Via Elementary, and he was later instructional coordinator at both Jackson-Via and Johnson Elementary. He served as acting principal or principal at Jackson-Via, Johnson, and Walker Upper Elementary School before moving to the division’s central offices in 2007, where he first served as Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services and finally, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
“We could not ask for someone better to step in as an interim,” noted School Board chair Lisa Larson-Torres. “Jim brings institutional knowledge, effective experience, wide areas of expertise — and even more, he brings warm relationships with our staff, our community partners, and so many of our families.”
In his years at the Charlottesville central office, Mr. Henderson had oversight of areas such as curriculum and instruction, counseling, student transportation, safety, nutrition, custodial work, facilities maintenance, green initiatives, student discipline, and more. He was active in many equity-driven changes in Charlottesville City Schools, from the rise of social-emotional learning to the redesign of the gifted program to the shift to supportive (not punitive) approaches to student behavior. Colleagues and families alike know that his guiding question is, “What’s best for children?”
“I spent my entire career in Charlottesville City Schools,” stated Mr. Henderson. “And I’m happy to be given the opportunity to serve the Charlottesville community again.”
Board vice-chair James Bryant, himself also a retiree of Charlottesville City Schools, added, “Jim’s long relationships and deep knowledge of our schools and programing will allow him to sustain our good work during this transitional time. We are so pleased that he was willing and available to step into this role.”
Upon Mr. Henderson’s retirement in 2020, Dr. Atkins noted, “There is no way that we as a division or community can adequately express our appreciation for more than four decades of outstanding service to Charlottesville City Schools.”
Earlier in the week, the School Board posted a request for a proposal to assist with the search for the next Superintendent. Proposals are due on April 6.