Kent ISD — Danielle Hendry admits that at a young age, she viewed Kent ISD as a place full of wonderment.
“My mom, who was a special education teacher at Caledonia Public Schools, would go there and it was a magical place as she would learn new things and attend trainings,” Hendry said. “So for me, Kent ISD was the place I wanted to be.”
In January, Hendry was named Kent ISD’s new human resources director, filling a position that has been vacant since 2017. She has served as the principal of MySchool@Kent, the ISD’s online school program, since 2019.
The human resources position most recently has been filled by contracted and temporary staff members because the ISD was working on some financial efficiencies, said Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services Coni Taylor. Going forward, the department will be focused on streamlining and fine-tuning many of its processes. These include implementing evidence-based hiring processes, improving trust and transparency, revamping job descriptions to be more diversity-focused and implementing new teacher and administrator mentoring programs.
“With that focus, Danielle is the perfect fit for the new position,” Taylor said. “She has a proven track record of success with Kent ISD and truly cares for our organization … Her experience as an educator brings a different lens to our office. She has already hit the ground running and her passion is contagious.”
Hendry has been at the forefront of online education by helping to grow the MySchool@Kent program, which serves about 450 students in middle and high school. With the pandemic inspiring area schools to look at virtual options for education, Hendry became instrumental in helping many districts implement online programs.
She said the decision to step away from this work was not an easy one.
“I loved my role as principal of MySchool@Kent,” said Hendry. “However, this new position speaks to my heart and gives me a greater opportunity to support all students through elevating, strengthening and supporting the ISD’s greatest resource, which is our people.”
In the immediate future, Hendry plans to focus on redoing Kent ISD’s hiring processes; strengthening the evaluation process; and examining other processes including recruitment, onboarding, retention, mentoring and exit interviews.
“My first goal is to ensure that our students and stakeholders benefit from a workforce that reflects the rich talent and diversity in our community,” she said.
Hendry has a master’s degree in secondary education from Indiana University in Bloomington and a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from American College of Education. Besides serving as principal at MySchool@Kent, she taught at schools in Florida and Washington and was also a principal and curriculum director for South Haven Public Schools.