We are so thrilled to have Dr. Bill Henderson coming to the Illinois Includes conference.
To say that Henderson is an inclusive schooling pioneer is an understatement. When he was a teacher in his early twenties, he was told by doctors that he would be blind in a matter of years. He was urged to get out of the field of education. Not only did Henderson ignore that advice, he pursued advanced degrees in the field and became a principal. In the early 1990s, when so few urban schools were including students with disabilities, Bill Henderson was at the helm of a fully inclusive K-5 building.
He won several awards for his work as a school leader and for his advocacy. For the first time, we can read all about his experiences as he has recently finished a new book on his work at the school that now bears his name. The book, The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made Me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made Our School Better for Everyone, will be the subject of his keynote presentation on Friday morning of the conference.
I simply cannot wait to hear this powerful new presentation. If you are as inspired as I am by Dr. Henderson’s story, be sure to make your plans today to attend Illinois Includes.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Bill Henderson, check out:
- this great interview in the Harvard Education Letter
- this short piece in Ladies Home Journal citing the William Henderson School as one of the most amazing schools in the country
- and of course, his fantastic book and reader reviews!
You should get out of education.
That was the advice first-year teacher Bill Henderson received when he discovered he was gradually losing his vision. Instead, Henderson persevered and became principal of the O Hearn Elementary School in Boston, an ethnically and economically diverse school where about a third of the students have mild, moderate, or significant disabilities.
In The Blind Advantage, Henderson describes how the journey into blindness helped him develop key qualities determination, vision, sensitivity, organization, collaboration, and humor that made him a more effective principal. At the same time, he shows how the inclusionary policies and practices at the O Hearn School (now renamed the William W. Henderson Inclusion Elementary School), elicited and developed these qualities in others.
The Blind Advantage provides insight into the challenges, possibilities, and practicalities of including students with disabilities and into the mind and heart of an inspired and determined leader.
Be sure to register for Illinois Includes – we are looking forward to everyone joining us!