Educator of the week

Ms. Djuna Henderson 
McKinley Technology Middle School

District of Columbia Public Schools
Favorite Teaching Subjects: Mathematics (Algebra)

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Ms. Djuna Henderson knows the value of a good education. Growing up, she witnessed firsthand the struggles her mother went through to raise and put her and her siblings through private school. Additionally, her 8th grade teacher, Ms. Person, always told her to do her best in everything. "I didn't think that I was any different from the other students, but she saw something in me and pushed me to be the best." These experiences left a lasting impression on her and helped lay a strong foundation from which Ms. Henderson would build her future.

Djuna always knew that she would go to college, but didn't know what she would do or how she would pay for it. One summer, she attended a program at her high school where she had the opportunity to experience and learn about robots and electronic circuits. Intrigued by this technology, she decided to attend Howard University in Washington, DC. Engineering was not easy for her, but Ms. Henderson never gave up and continued to move forward. "Electrical engineering was hard and very male dominated. I was never taught to critically think and had to figure that out on my own." Despite her struggles, she was able to overcome her hurdles and obtain her bachelor's of science degree in electrical engineering. After Howard University, she found it difficult to find a job and decided to make a transition in her life towards education, something she always felt passionate about. "I love children and I am passionate about all students having an opportunity to be successful."

Ms. Henderson continued her education at Trinity University and George Washington University where she ultimately received her master's degree in middle school mathematics. For the past 16 years, Ms. Henderson has been developing young minds and teaching them the things she wished she would have been taught growing up. "I work hard to get my students to problem solve and critically think about solutions to problems. It is difficult for them now but I feel it will be an asset to them in the future." Currently, Ms. Henderson has been teaching at McKinley Technology Middle School for the past two years where she proudly enjoys working alongside her team of colleagues as they prepare their students for higher learning.

This year, Ms. Henderson is planning expose her students to the various careers and opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), something that she never was exposed to growing up. "My STEM goals are for each student to leave my classroom and be able to tell me about the different parts of STEM and how they all work together to create the products we use daily, and also know that they have the opportunity to be a part of STEM through many different careers." Outside of her classroom, Ms. Henderson also has a tutoring business called Direct Tutoring where she tutors mathematics. During high school, she tutored her friends in math because it was a subject that always came easy to her, and it was this experience that led her towards developing her business. In addition to high school math, she also tutors students in preparation for the SAT and the ACT exams.

During her spare time, Ms. Henderson enjoys flipping through the pages of a good book and doing a little shopping.

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