Get To Know New SOE Faculty: Henderson Lewis, PhD

September 27, 2022

BATON ROUGE, LA - Henderson Lewis, PhD has joined the LSU School of Education faculty as an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership. Get to know him!

Tell us about your professional journey and your current research interests. What do you hope to accomplish in your first years at LSU? 

I began my professional journey as a high school mathematics teacher. I started my career in my hometown, St. Bernard Parish, in St. Bernard Parish Public Schools. During my time in St. Bernard, I was a teacher and curriculum coordinator. Due to my compassion for my hometown, I served as a school board member in St. Bernard for 11 years. 

After my tenure in St. Bernard, I served as an assistant principal, founding high school principal, and director of Academics and Instructional Technology for Algiers Charter Schools Association. I spent six years at the charter management network until I began my career as a superintendent of schools. I began my superintendency in East Feliciana Parish Public Schools. For three years, we were able to restore hope in education from the community, place in the top five in academic growth on statewide assessments in Louisiana and improve the overall financial health of the school district. This experience was the foundation for my seven-year tenure as superintendent of schools in New Orleans.  

As the superintendent of schools in New Orleans, I led the charge to pass legislation to unify all charter schools under one locally elected school board. On July 1, 2018, Orleans Parish Public Schools were unified under one locally elected school board. New Orleans is the first majority charter school district in the country.  

My research interests are change management and governance models in school systems, leadership development for principals and superintendents, and mentorship of African American males in education.  I hope to accomplish in my first years at LSU an opportunity for my students to become effective and reflective school leaders that will support the overall performance of their schools, author articles in educational journal publications in my research interests, and create opportunities for my students to engage with experienced educational leaders through panel discussions and other forums. 

You just started working as a professor at LSU after many years as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. What is your biggest takeaway about the difference in the way you approach your job? What perspective does all of your previous experience provide in your current role?  

Even though I have an array of experiences in education, at my core I am a true teacher. Therefore, I approached this professorship in a similar way as I would in the classroom. The biggest takeaway and perspective from my experience is the ability to utilize my professional network so that my students can hear from novice to experienced educational leaders. This will give my students various perspectives on leading schools and school districts and provide them with practical experience aligned with the theoretical aspect of the course I teach at LSU. 

What is your favorite thing so far about being at LSU? What stands out for you after only being at LSU for a few short weeks? 

My favorite thing at LSU and what stands out to me is the overwhelming support from the academic department. In just a few short weeks of being at LSU, I have felt supported by my colleagues and the university, and I am building great relationships with them as well. I am excited to be part of the LSU faculty and look forward to an amazing year.