Dr. Bill Henderson: A True Innovator in Education


Dr. Bill Henderson will be honored on November 14th at Venezia.

Freedom House will be honoring Dr. Bill Henderson at our November 14th Thanks For Giving event. Dr. Henderson’s role in developing an inclusive program at what is now called the William W. Henderson Inclusion Elementary School makes him the perfect candidate to receive our Innovator in Education award.

In 1989, Bill was appointed principal of the Patrick O’Hearn Elementary School with a mandate to develop an inclusive program, and he remained its leader for 20 years. The Patrick O’Hearn (designated in June 2009 as the William W Henderson Inclusion Elementary School) serves children from diverse ethnic, linguistic, and ability backgrounds from early childhood through Grade 5. Approximately 33% of the students at the Henderson School have mild, moderate, or significant disabilities. These students learn in general education classrooms with their nondisabled peers. The Henderson has gained widespread recognition for inclusion, academic progress, arts, technology, and family involvement, and it now serves students in 2 campuses from early childhood through grade 12.

Since retiring from the Boston Public Schools, he continues to present at universities and conferences and to consult for school systems and agencies. In 2011, Harvard Education Press published his book titled, “The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made Me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made the School Better for everyone.”

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