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Our Story

Having just graduated from college, Mr. Eric Sanchez and Mrs. Carice Sanchez came to Henderson, North Carolina in the summer of 2002. Through the nationally renowned Teach For America program, they began their teaching careers in Vance County; Mr. Sanchez at Eaton-Johnson Middle School, Mrs. Sanchez at nearby Pinkston Street Elementary. As they each proved their effectiveness in the classroom, they also fell in love with the local community.

Despite the academic growth and desire to learn they were seeing in their respective classrooms, Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez saw the potential to make an even greater impact. They only had to look fifty miles east to Gaston College Preparatory, a public charter school and part of the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) network, to see what was possible. Both Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez went on to teach there, again achieving remarkable results in their classrooms, learning what it would take to lead a school of their own, and planning to one day open one using the KIPP model.

Meanwhile, neither educator lost their commitment to the students of Vance County who remained hungry for an excellent education. Mr. Sanchez led the “Henderson to KIPP” initiative, arranging enrollment and transportation for more than thirty Vance County students to attend Gaston College Prep.

It was on New Year’s Day of 2009 when Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez decided they were ready to lead their own school in Vance County, submitting an application a month later to the North Carolina State Board of Education. Out of twenty-four applicants that year, only three would be granted charters to open their schools. Short-listed to a group of six, Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez were joined by potential board members, students, and parents in Raleigh, where they were interviewed by the Leadership for Innovation Committee. Based on the recommendations of that committee, the State Board of Education convened in August 2009 for a final vote. Henderson Collegiate, as it was named, won the second highest number of votes and was the first choice of four of the Board’s nine members.

Exactly one year later, after months of planning and preparation, Henderson Collegiate opened its doors in August 2010 to its first class of fourth-graders, affectionately known as “the Pride of 2019.”


Henderson Collegiate | What is Public Charter School Henderson NC (252) 598-1038