Dr. Dewey Hensley, chief academic officer of Jefferson County Public Schools, will be awarded the Caritas Medal—the highest honor the university confers to an alumna or alumnus—at the 2014 Spalding University commencement. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 7 at Canaan Christian Church, 2840 Hikes Lane.
Hensley graduated with a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Spalding in 2007. As a leader in the Jefferson County Public Schools system, Hensley has improved student achievement in the district by providing greater access to academic services and support systems and has implemented a model of professional development for teachers and principals across 155 schools. He has received national recognition for his school turnaround strategy and performance. As principal of Atkinson Academy for Excellence, Hensley led the lowest performing school in Kentucky with the highest poverty rate in the system to become a school highly regarded for its achievement, culture and community engagement. His success at Atkinson led him to be selected as associate commissioner of education for Kentucky. In 2014, Hensley was awarded the Dr. Johnnie Grissom Award for his leadership and commitment to high achievement by the Kentucky Board of Education.
In addition to his doctorate from Spalding, Dr. Hensley earned a bachelor of arts degree from Berea College and a master’s degree from University of Louisville. He holds additional professional certifications from Eastern Kentucky University.
The Caritas Medal is presented to a graduate who, within her or his community or on a national or international level, has made a significant contribution to her or his field and who lives out the university’s mission. The term “Caritas” comes from “Caritas Christi Urget Nos” (The Charity of Christ Urges Us), the motto of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
“The Caritas Medal is a tribute to all the great teachers who affected what I have done and who I am,” says Hensley. “I am extremely proud and humbled to receive the honor. It motivates me to continue to advance and promote education as the significant pathway for all children and families, particularly those who have been disenfranchised in the past.”