School district officials are asking the community’s help in naming a meeting room in honor of a retiring member of the Personnel Commission.
Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials sent out an announcement recently asking for the public’s input on naming a room at the District Education Center in honor of Tom Henderson. The Personnel Commission meets in the room monthly, currently known as the generic “testing room.”
Board trustee Martha Fluor and Henderson’s fellow commissioner Ken Wayman requested that the conference room be named in his honor.
Henderson has served the district for 38 years, including six years on the board of education.
“He has served with distinction, always placing the interests of the district and its employees above all else,” Fluor wrote in her letter. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition than Tom Henderson.”
He is a longtime local resident, with more than 50 years in the Newport-Mesa area. He attended Newport Elementary, Ensign Intermediate School and graduated from Newport Harbor High School. All of his children also graduated from NMUSD schools.
“Tom (Henderson) has distinguished himself in this community as a family man, a professional, and as a volunteer in the service of children,” wrote Wayman in his letter. “The manner in which Tom (Henderson) served is and will be remembered.”
He earned a reputation for calm, thoughtful and ethical leadership, Wayman continued.
After becoming an attorney in 1961, he practiced law in Newport Beach. Henderson retired in 2009.
Henderson’s involvement with the school district and in the community has been “long and honorable,” Wayman said.
For a piece of district property to be named after an individual, certain criteria needs to be met, including that individuals, living or deceased, need to have contributed greatly to the betterment of society and/or the local community, area and/or district.
They need to have served with distinction in their field of endeavor and represent a positive role model that would reflect with honor on the district and made contributions of state, national or worldwide significance.
The geographic area in which the property is located and its significance to the people in the area, are also considered.
“The board’s goal is to ensure that the naming of facilities honors those who are truly deserving of a permanent memorial and reflective of the purpose and mission of the district,” the announcement explains.
“I am very pleased to forward my support for this outstanding person whom I have observed and sought to emulate over many, many years,” Wayman wrote. “Having his name associated with the district, and particularly with the Personnel Commission in the years ahead, will bring honor on the district and will help to illuminate a positive role model.”
Comments will be collected online through Tuesday. Following community input, the information will go before the NMUSD Board of Education on Oct. 22.