Discovery acknowledges Henderson as ‘Staff Member of the Year’

MADISON – As a registrar, Donna Henderson is the first line of contact with new students and families who relocate to Madison. To recognize her work, Discovery Middle School’s faculty and staff have recognized Henderson as “Staff Member of the Year.”

Henderson has worked as registrar at Discovery since July 2014. “My main duties are to enroll new students,” Henderson said. “I’m also responsible for making sure grades are posted correctly and making necessary corrections. (I record) daily attendance and truancy.”

Surprisingly, the busiest time for school registrars involves the summer months. Henderson must “make sure all new students are entered and enrolled. I verify all re-enrollment for returning students” to confirm that students are ready to return to class in August.

Before joining Discovery’s staff, Henderson worked at Hazel Green High School in the Special Needs Unit for three years. “In the nine years prior to that, I was a sub in the Hazel Green and Meridianville feeder schools,” she said.

One time when Henderson can breathe a sigh of relief is her closing re-enrollment in July. “(It) feels pretty good. We have over 1,300 students, and, verifying all of those residency (records) is pretty tough,” Henderson said.

“Keeping attendance and truancy current has been quite the challenge this year,” she said. “With COVID-19 and virtual (learning), it has been almost a total nightmare.”

Huntsville is her hometown. “My parents moved here from Arkansas when I was six weeks old; we never left. I graduated from Butler High School in 1981. I loved Butler; it used to be such an awesome school,” Henderson said.

Her graduating class numbered almost 700 students. “We were the largest school in the state at the time,” Henderson said. She then attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

She and husband Randy Henderson met at Butler when she was a junior and he was a sophomore. “We’ve been together all along. He is a Senior System Engineer and Manager for NASA Database Administration,” she said.

The Henderson’s four children — Wes, Ben, Sarah and Haley — graduated from Hazel Green High School and the University of Alabama. “We have one incredible grandson, Walker, who is five,” Donna said.

2020 was a challenging year, professionally and personally. “I had knee surgery in October, and while rehabbing I got COVID-19. Twelve members of our family total got COVID-19 at the same time, and my husband was hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia,” Donna said.

“In March, we were hit by a hit-and-run driver, and our car was totaled. So, this year has been pretty rough,” Donna said.

In much happier times, the Hendersons own “a fantastic pontoon boat. Our family loves to spend time on the water. We also have a special dog, Sam, who is a scoundrel lab mix; we love him dearly,” Donna said.

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