Wilson ES Teacher wins ExCEL award

Every child is special for SAISD’s 2009 ‘ExCEL’ award-winner


For nearly 20 years Jeanette Henderson has helped youngsters with special needs develop the knowledge and skills necessary to have successful lives.

“When you watch Ms. Henderson teach you are in awe,” Wilson ES principal Cynthia De La Garza wrote in her ExCEL award nomination letter.

“She teaches students with a variety of physical and cognitive challenges with great ease and effectiveness.  She knows how to meet each child’s unique needs to help them achieve their maximum potential while learning along with their peers. ”

This ability to bring out the best in her students is among the reasons Henderson is this year’s ExCEL recipient.

She was recognized by presenters and award sponsors KENS5 and the San Antonio Federal Credit Union during an Oct. 6 school assembly in her honor.

In addition to a golden apple trophy, Henderson received a $1,000 cash prize and will be featured in a KENS5 story.

“Her commitment to the students, parents and staff of the SAISD community is visible through her actions, exemplary skills and positive attitude,” De La Garza wrote.

“I embarked on a career in teaching not only because I enjoy working with children, but also my desire to take on the challenges that exist when working with children with special needs,” Henderson wrote.

“Although at times it feels a bit overwhelming to have so many different needs to address in one school day, it is my joy of taking on that challenge and seeing the amazing positive results that keep me working in the classroom.”

Henderson makes learning fun through singing out instructions, and transforming her classroom into colorful settings such as a rain forest and an ocean of sea creatures.

“After observing I leave singing and energized from the learning that is occurring.  As I walk away I think how fortunate the students are to have Ms. Henderson as a teacher,” her principal wrote.

For their teacher, the feeling is mutual.

“Whether it is the joy of seeing a student with multi--handicapping conditions hold her head for 20 seconds … or receiving a phone call from a former student or his parents just to let me know they are doing well, I am blessed to have been a part of their lives,” Henderson wrote.

When not teaching, she is a member of Wilson’s crisis team, serves on the campus technology committee and as an alternate on the campus leadership team.

Henderson earned her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and her master’s from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  She also was among SAISD’s first teachers to complete the rigorous National Board Certification.