Advocate for special needs children named Trinity nominee

Advocate for special needs children named Trinity nominee


An educator who has spent her 21-year career helping to secure successful futures for special needs learners will represent SAISD for one of Bexar County’s most prestigious honors.

Jeanette Henderson of Wilson ES has been selected by a District committee as SAISD’s nominee for the 2011 Trinity Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Two Bexar County-area recipients will be announced later this spring at an awards ceremony hosted by prize sponsor Trinity University.

This is the second major honor Henderson has received in recent years. In 2009 she was SAISD’s representative for the KENS5 and San Antonio Federal Credit Union ExCEL Award.

“Mrs. Henderson is an incredibly successful educator because she has a clear understanding of the content knowledge used to maximize the understanding for her students,” principal Venus Medina wrote in her nomination letter.

“Any adult or student that enters her classroom can immediately feel the safe, nurturing learning environment Mrs.Henderson has established.”

Among the ways she makes learning fun for her 3- to 5-year-old Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities students is through transforming the classroom into colorful settings, and utilizing a variety of materials, textures, aromas, presentation models including singing, hands-on activities and parental involvement opportunities to best meet each child’s learning style.

“Engaging students in meaningful learning is vital to academic process at every developmental level,” Henderson wrote in the nomination application.

“Children explore with their peers, engage in a variety of activities and observe their parents volunteering. As a result, not only are we targeting the children’s needs, but also providing opportunities for parents to work with their children using varied materials to achieve an academic goal.

” Henderson also passes on her successful teaching strategies through mentoring new teachers, and welcomes university student education majors and others participating in professional development to observe her classroom.

When not in the classroom, she advocates for her students and their parents to elected leaders through activities such as Lobby Day, during which she
wrote them letters expressing concern for proposed cuts in education.

The Ohio native - who earned her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and her master’s from UTSA - credits SAISD in helping her to become the teacher she is today: one whom her principal was proud to nominate.

“I would like for such an extraordinary professional to be recognized and awarded for the outstanding performance of giving students in the San Antonio Independent School District an opportunity to achieve their dreams for a successful future,” she wrote.