School Board Candidate Profile: Hillary Henderson

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 7:22 am
Karessa Wheeler

Five years ago, Hillary Henderson felt the East Lansing Board of Education could benefit from some “younger parents.” With one child in high school, one in kindergarten and a third in preschool, Henderson thought she would be able to add a new perspective to the Board. The voters agreed and she was elected that November.

Today, with a third grader, a sixth grader and a graduate student at Michigan Tech, Henderson believes that, although the Board’s makeup has changed considerably since she joined, she still has much to add to the vision for the future of East Lansing’s public schools.

“I want to continue the work that I’ve started,” she said. “I have high expectations for East Lansing.”

Henderson grew up in Saginaw and attended Michigan State University. She worked with the state legislature where she met her husband. She taught Pilates at the Michigan Athletic Center for several years and is current a real estate agent.

“I have always loved East Lansing and never wanted to leave it,” she said.

In her time on the Board, she is proud of their ability to pass the technology bond in 2013 while she was president of the Board. She has also served as Board President in 2014 and Board Secretary for 2015 and 2016.

“I’m also really proud of the sixth grade wing and new programming at the middle school,” she said. “I walk into that building and it’s just beautiful. We’ve been able to increase the pre-AP classes. There is so much we’ve done.”

If elected to another term, Henderson would like to focus on pre-kindergarten education as well as closing the achievement gap and upgrading the facilities at all of the District’s elementary schools.

“Education equality is always going to be something we have to work on. There is no magic bullet, we simply have to remain diligent,” she said.

She would support reopening Red Cedar Elementary School for a pre-kindergarten building if it “makes educational and financial sense.” However, she believes that all the buildings need to receive more attention from the Board.

“It is imperative that we bring our elementary facilities up to par with our middle and high schools,” she said.

She would like to increase the foreign language offerings at all levels and hopes to receive guidance from teachers and staff as to how to further improve programming.

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