Kelly C. Henson to Receive AACTE’s Imig Award

AACTE’s Committee on Professional Preparation and Accountability has selected Kelly C. Henson to receive the 2019 AACTE David G. Imig Award for Distinguished Achievement in Teacher Education. Henson, who in January 2019 retired as the executive secretary at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, will be presented with the award at the AACTE 71st Annual Meeting, February 22-24, in Louisville, KY.

The Imig Award, named for AACTE President and CEO Emeritus David G. Imig, recognizes distinguished achievement in the formulation, implementation, or analysis of teacher education policy, or in the performance of distinguished scholarship in educator preparation.

Since 2007, Henson has led substantive educator preparation policy, certification, and ethics reform efforts in his role at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. During his distinguished career of over 45 years in education, he also served as the superintendent of schools in Floyd County, principal of Walton High School, principal of Pope High School and associate superintendent in Marietta City Schools in Georgia. He has contributed to the statewide and national implementation of tiered certification, preparation program effectiveness measures (PPEM), performance-based educational leadership, enhanced ethics instruction and assessment and job-embedded professional learning.

Henson demonstrated an unwavering commitment to provide excellent customer service to all Georgia educators and to educator preparation providers (EPPs) who prepare educators, working with them and other agencies, organizations and legislators to develop and maintain strong, collaborative partnerships. Georgia Professional Standards Commission Chair Kami Luigs explained: “Kelly’s commitment to quality education is unsurpassed, and it is due to his creative leadership that Georgia’s substantive reform efforts aimed at continuous improvement across the professional continuum have been highly successful. In addition, his unique ability to bring constituents from multiple contexts together, nurturing a culture of collaboration, support and accountability, as well as his targeted focus on innovation, continues to influence and inform both policy and practice across the nation.” 

The policies and initiatives resulting from Henson’s innovative leadership have had significant positive impact not only on EPPs, but also on PK-12 education, other state agencies, national and regional educational organizations and the community of learners at large. The outcomes of his leadership have greatly informed the work of other states with regard to certification, educator preparation, assessment and ethics across the professional continuum. His contributions to public education and those who serve education will impact Georgia for many years to come.

Through his work with the HR1103 Study Committee and the Alliance of Agency Heads Math/Science Task Force, Henson played a pivotal role in advancing the preparation and compensation of Georgia mathematics and science teachers. In addition, he co-chaired the Professional Learning Study Committee convened by the Georgia House of Representatives, and he served as a key member of Georgia’s Race To The Top design team. In 2014, Henson received the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders’ (GAEL) Fulbright Distinguished Service Award, which is the highest honor awarded by this umbrella association for all seven field-specific educational leadership organizations in Georgia.

 Nominations for the award come from the AACTE membership and are reviewed by the Committee on Professional Preparation and Accountability.

“As the leading voice in educator preparation, AACTE represents teacher educators who sustain and advance our profession through innovation, high standards, and leadership. For 23 years, AACTE has honored the exceptional contributions of member institutions and individuals to our field,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “I have had the good fortune to know Kelly Henson and his Professional Preparation and Accountability staff; their strong relationships with all sectors in Georgia, and particularly with our AACTE members institutions, is greatly appreciated by our institutions and the students of Georgia. I look forward to honoring Kelly Henson for his excellent contributions to educator preparation at AACTE’s 71st Annual Meeting.

Nominations for the AACTE David G. Imig Award for Distinguished Achievement in Teacher Education are reviewed and selected by the Committee on Professional Preparation and Accountability. Nominations for the 2020 award will open in April.

AACTE issued a press release today announcing all of its 2019 award winners. For more information on AACTE’s awards program, visit the AACTE website

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Katrina Norfleet

Content Strategist, AACTE