Kaya Henderson to “smooth things out”

Perhaps the city residents who miss Michelle Rhee shouldn’t worry so much? Here’s the Washington Examiner on interim D.C. schools chancellor, Kaya Henderson:

“People keep asking me how I’m different from Michelle Rhee. I’m different than her because she’s a petite Asian woman and I’m a large black girl,” Henderson told The Washington Examiner.

But the style of leadership that was necessary in June 2007 is different than what people crave now, Henderson says. “Rhee had to come in and break some china,” she says. “We’re tired of breaking china.” Rhee’s job was to create a revolution of reform; Henderson’s job is to smooth things out.

So she smiles more than Rhee, and she meets with skeptical education boards in the various wards, broaching topics like “healing” and “acknowledging missteps.”

But as Rhee’s deputy chancellor, Henderson was silently pulling the strings of the most high-profile, and most controversial, reforms that Rhee — and Mayor Adrian Fenty — took the public hit for.

Henderson was D.C. Public Schools’ chief negotiator of the union contract, which allowed Rhee to fire 165 teachers rated ineffective during classroom observations. Henderson led the team that developed Impact, the teacher evaluation tool that determined those firings.