By Paul Medina
The LACCD’s Board of Trustees newest member Nichelle M. Henderson’s main objective as trustee is increasing equity and diversity.
To accomplish the goals, she ran in her platform, which can be found in her campaign website, which lists putting students first, increasing funding, greater accountability in spending, improving outreach to underserved populations such as AAPI, LGBTQ, prior incarcerated and foster youth.
Henderson said she is very excited, “to be given the opportunity by LA.. County voters to be a trustee on this board.”
One of Henderson’s major goals in her first year on the board of trustees is to, “try and find ways to make education a pathway to citizenship. You spend all this time to going to school to better your life and then if you are undocumented, you can’t work,” which seems as a waste, Henderson said.
Henderson currently works at Cal State University Los Angeles for a teacher credential program called CalStateTEACH.
Previously, Henderson was a middle school math teacher with the Compton Unified School District.
“Running for this office, I saw a lot of the need for diversity and equity, specifically for black and brown people, nontraditional students” Henderson said.
Henderson values non-traditional students. She drew inspiration from her father who graduated from LA Trade Tech College in his 30s. He was able to complete a work force preparation program apprenticeship, then work with L.A. county where he retired.
Henderson has set goals for higher retention and graduation of underserved students, greater diversity in hiring.
She is also looking at the expansion of students services for mental health, vocational programs and courses for high school dual-enrolled students.
When Henderson is not in school activities, she can be found volunteering, being active with her union and in county politics.
Henderson feels that a community college education is imperative for people’s success. She views a community college as a place where “you would have dropped off from high school or college and needed to catch up, or had aspiration of attending a specific four year university, but didn’t have the money at the time, then a community college was a viable choice,” to transfer as a junior, Henderson said.
Henderson, is a married mother of four and comes from a family dedicated to public service.
She is married to Dr. Mark E. Henderson who is a Southwest College graduate who currently is an administrator at Los Angeles Pierce College and also serves as Vice Mayor of Gardena.
Henderson said it important to increase and promote LACCD programs, enhancing and promoting the programs.
Many programs Henderson would like to promote are for populations with high drop-out rates such as black and brown students. Henderson praises college promise and student enrichment programs such as Puente and Umoja which provide mentorship and life enrichment and support services that students need.
Henderson says she always welcomes students input on important matters and looks forward to meeting students and working with them
Henderson said she urges reaching out board members directly for concerns students have, as they are more likely to have concerns heard.