At the April 13 Proviso Township High School District 209 board meeting, President Rodney Alexander said he’d come up with a plan to show the public that, in the midst of drama and accusations surrounding Supt. James Henderson, the board supports the “well qualified, over accomplished” administrator.
Alexander said there have been many lies told about Henderson, but “they’ve all been debunked,” although he didn’t mention specifics. As a result, Alexander wrote a resolution in support of Henderson and asked board members to sign it.
“I wanted to send a clear message to this district that this board stands behind Dr. Henderson 100 percent,” Alexander said during the meeting. “Doesn’t matter what one or two board members say or do. They’re not the board. The board is a quorum of at least four.”
The resolution was signed by Alexander, board Vice President Theresa Kelly, and board members Della Patterson, Sam Valtierrez and Ned Wagner.
Neither Claudia Medina nor Amanda Grant signed the resolution, though Alexander said about Grant, “I believe [she] still supports Dr. Henderson in her own way.” He added: “That’s a six to one board, people; it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Medina has been publicly outspoken about her distrust of Henderson, so her refusal to sign was no surprise.
Grant declined to comment at this time on her reasons for not signing.
The resolution mentions analyses and work performed by Henderson since he’s come to the district and “declares that James L. Henderson Ed.D is a competent leader.”
Achievements listed in the document that are attributed to Henderson’s leadership include that he:
- Is performing analyses in D209 that have uncovered “very hard truths about current operations, technology, and academic performance”;
- Has partnered with food banks to ensure food was provided to district students over school breaks;
- Has “ensured financial solvency and identified $9.5 million in cost savings and corrected departmental procedures and internal financial control measures”;
- Has secured COVID-19 vaccinations for staff; and
- Has “demonstrated a commitment to invest in the teacher workforce and bringing increased diversity to classrooms across the district.”
After reading the resolution, Alexander defended Henderson more, saying of him, “He’s only doing what the board says. And we know as of April 6, that the community doesn’t have a problem with what the board says because you elected us again.”
The April 6 election in which Alexander, Grant, Valtierrez and Patterson were reelected was uncontested.
Alexander added: “So to continue to fight against this board is to fight against your very community. Get on the train, there’s room, we still got a couple seats … Come on over. Come on over and ride with us. Because all we’re trying to do is improve outcomes for students.”
A version of the resolution can be found on the district’s website at https://tinyurl.com/4w926t7j
Editor’s note: This article was edited on April 26 at 9 p.m. to reflect that it was Della Patterson, not Theresa Kelly as originally indicated, who was one of the four recently reelected board members.