Henderson will join Georgetown University’s board of directors


D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson speaks before the D.C. Council on Nov. 15, 2012. Henderson will join Georgetown University’s board of directors in October. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
August 19

Kaya Henderson has earned two degrees from Georgetown University, received an honorary doctorate and taught a course at the university’s school of public policy. And now this for the D.C. schools chancellor: She will join Georgetown’s board of directors later this year, the university said Tuesday.

News of Henderson’s appointment was first disclosed in an advisory opinion issued last week by the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability and posted on the agency’s Web site Monday. It responds to a request from Henderson for ethics guidance on whether she can serve on Georgetown’s board while continuing to serve as chancellor.

Darrin P. Sobin, the city’s director of government ethics, concluded that she may. “Here, your service on the Board would be part-time, and I otherwise find nothing to suggest that that service would conflict significantly with the performance of your duties or impair the efficient operation of DCPS,” he wrote.

There are some caveats: Because Georgetown has two contracts with DCPS — one to provide law students to teach pre-law classes to high-schoolers and another allowing selected DCPS principals to earn master’s degrees — Henderson has agreed to recuse herself in both of her roles from discussing or acting on those contracts and any other matter in which DCPS and Georgetown intersect.

Sobin also advised Henderson that she “cannot accept gifts or anything of value from Georgetown for your service or otherwise as long as you are DCPS chancellor,” given the business relationship between the entities.

University spokeswoman Stacy Kerr said Tuesday that Henderson will serve a three-year term and will begin her service in October. “She is a leader in the District and nationally on education related issues,” Kerr said in an e-mail.

Henderson will join a board that, according to the university’s Web site, has 36 members among them titans of business, sports and academia — including Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, MedStar Health chief executive Kenneth A. Samet, National Basketball Association Hall of Fame player Alonzo Mourning and former National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue, the board’s chair. Eight members are women.

In an e-mail Monday, Henderson said she was approached about board service this year by Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, prompting her to inquire about serving while chancellor.

With the ethics guidance in hand, she accepted the offer.

“I am honored that they considered me and look forward to joining the board in October,” she said.

And, Henderson confirmed, she will not be paid. She won’t even get an upgrade to her men’s basketball season tickets. “I’m paying for my same old seats, just like every year,” she said.

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