Nationally and internationally recognized as a trailblazer in the guidance and counseling field, Dr. Pat Henderson has had an impact on thousands of students and colleagues.
Henderson became a guidance counselor soon after starting her career in the 1960s as an English teacher in California. She had dreamed of becoming a guidance counselor since she was a teenager who had no one to talk to while her parents were going through a divorce. Henderson knew guidance counselors could be playing a much more critical role in the lives - and futures - of students.
In the 1970s, with colleague Norman Gysbers, Henderson began developing the Comprehensive Guidance Program, which consists of four main components: guidance, responsive services, individual planning, and system support. Together, these four components provide students with a full continuum of services, whether they need career advice or help managing a personal problem that is interfering with school.
After serving as Coordinator of Guidance for the Orange County, California Department of Education for almost a decade, Henderson was wooed to San Antonio to serve as Northside ISD's Director of Guidance in 1982.
She transformed NISD's Guidance and Counseling Department and expanded the paradigm of the counselor-student relationship. Instead of waiting for a knock on their door or a crisis to occur, counselors began reaching out to students.
Just five years after Henderson's arrival in Northside, the District was named one of the top 10 elementary guidance and counseling programs in the nation by the U.S. Department of Education. Her Comprehensive Guidance Program ultimately was adopted by the Texas Education Agency and now also serves as the basis for national counseling guidelines.
Henderson's dedication to students is matched only by her devotion to the counseling profession. She has served in leadership positions for national counseling associations and has served as President of just about every counseling organization in Texas.
She's authored more than a dozen books and numerous articles and has presented more than 100 workshops across the nation. And throughout her entire career, she has taught college courses, ensuring a pipeline of educated, professional school counselors.
Both the American School Counselor Association and Texas Counseling Association have honored Henderson with lifetime achievement awards. Later this fall, she'll receive a similar honor from the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.
Henderson retired from Northside in 2001, but she continues to play a pivotal role in the school counseling field as a consultant to school districts across the nation. The mother of two grown children and her husband, Carl, continue to live in San Antonio.