Stephanie Henderson: From La Quinta High student to teacher


Jun Bazua

Stephanie Henderson is a new teacher at La Quinta High School.

Early morning on Tuesday, Sept. 28, Stephanie Henderson is walking her class to the track to prep her students to run their weekly mile. 

Some students go off on their own to stretch. They’re called to line up for the mile.

The mile starts and the students run off. 

She calls out to some students sitting on the steps and they proceed to have a calm, relaxed conversation.

Henderson said, “I was a very shy student. I had a 3.5 GPA and never broke the rules. I was focused on school and swim.” 

She has taught physical education for eight years, and is currently the coach for the La Quinta High boys’ and girls’ swim team. 

Henderson also used to be a head water polo coach for Cathedral City High School.

She formerly worked at Cathedral City High School, John Glenn Middle School and is now working at her alma mater, La Quinta High School, where she graduated in 2007. 

When she was in ninth grade her PE teacher, Brian Ansley, told her she would make a great PE teacher one day. 

Henderson said, “Since then, I have wanted to teach at LQHS.” 

She thinks it’s funny how some of her former teachers and mentors–including Ansley, Maria Puente, Samantha Hirsch and Michael Schneider– still work here, and now that she works at the high school, they are her colleagues.  

Henderson later earned her teaching credential from San Diego State University on a full ride scholarship for swimming. 

She majored in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Physical Education. Henderson eventually wants to be an athletic director. 

She said, “I want to become an athletic director because I love organizing events, having the privilege of shaping the experiences of young athletes positively.”

Her hobbies consist of collecting shoes, arcade games and competing in any sport or game with her husband.

Henderson claims it’s not as challenging to keep her students on task in class, as it was with her middle school students. The only difference is the high school students give her more respect than the middle school students. 

The difference between teaching at high school and middle school in her opinion is the “age level and the high school is much bigger.”

A few students began to finish their mile run, and continued to call out to her as they walked by. She harbored a very content expression in her eyes as she looked around the field. Henderson would like to add she feels “very blessed to be here.”