Kentwood's Henderson is Kent School District Teacher of the Year

Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas and other district leaders made a surprise visit to Kentwood High School on Tuesday to honor business and computer science teacher Shannon Henderson as the Kent School District 2014 Teacher of the Year.

Kentwood's staff gave Henderson a standing ovation at the announcement.

Henderson is guided by her strong belief in the power of education and service for others. Her belief in her students and the work she puts into teaching resulted in her being named the district's top teacher.

"I am overwhelmed with this amazing honor," Henderson said. "I can't accept this honor without acknowledging and sharing it with the other incredibly talented, dedicated and caring educators that surround me."

The 21-year teaching veteran was nominated by her peers with input from parents and students. Kentwood Principal John Kniseley noted Henderson's drive to learn and to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Parent Garnet Kutterer highlighted her "patience and love in every teaching situation."

Henderson quotes William Butler Yeats regarding education: "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

"No student is productive unless they feel that their teacher cares about them and has built a positive relationship," she said. "I want to motivate students to reach beyond the mere understanding of a concept so that they can apply the subject matter.

"I can sleep at night because I have made an impact on the lives of many young people."

"Shannon Henderson is the embodiment of the exemplary teachers we have here in Kent School District," Vargas said. "Her commitment to innovation reflects that of the District so all our students are prepared for successful futures."

Over the last year, Henderson was selected as one of 40 teachers in the nation to attend the Seminar for High School Educators on Business and Financial Responsibility. She was also selected as one of 20 teachers in the nation to attend the Cyber Defense Boot Camp for high school teachers at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

Henderson will be honored by the district board of directors meeting on May 28. Her selection as the district's Teacher of the Year qualifies her as a candidate for regional teacher of the year within the Puget Sound Educational Service District, which serves 35 public school districts. The regional Teacher of the Year recipients then become candidates for the 2014 Washington State Teacher of the Year, which is announced in the fall.


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