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TFA NC Alumni-Led School Ranked First in the State for Student Growth

Henderson Collegiate, Led and Co-Founded by Alums Eric and Carice Sanchez, Earns Highest Growth Score of All Public and Charter Schools across North Carolina for the 2021-2022 School Year

September 21, 2022

Henderson Collegiate staff pose at TFA's annual One Day Breakfast (May 2022)

HENDERSON, NC– Henderson Collegiate, a public charter school in Vance County founded by Teach For America alums Eric and Carice Sanchez, achieved the number one spot in all North Carolina schools for academic growth. 

According to metrics established by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the North Carolina State Board of Education, schools exceed growth expectations when they score a 2 or above on the academic growth index. Henderson Collegiate scored 18.77 on the index per NCDPI’s 2021-22 school report card—the highest score of all 2,700+ public and charter schools across North Carolina. 

Henderson Collegiate serves approximately 1,300 students, 95% of whom identify as BIPOC and 86% of whom come from low-income households. 

“Last year’s results go a long way to doing something that we have cared about since we started Henderson Collegiate: helping people change their paradigms about what’s possible in public education,” said Eric Sanchez, CEO and Co-Founder of Henderson Collegiate. “We’re a little school in rural North Carolina that has shown that our kids can compete with the most affluent communities in our state. These achievements show that your zip code does not have to determine your destiny.”

Sanchez, who also serves on the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board, began his career in education as a member of the 2002 Teach For America Eastern North Carolina corps where he taught at Eaton Johnson Middle School in Vance County.

“Teach For America gave me one of the greatest gifts: my why,” said Sanchez. “And that why—that fire that lights in me to this day—is the result of joining this extraordinary cohort and national movement, which is also the reason why we created Henderson Collegiate.”

Sanchez founded Henderson Collegiate in 2010 with his wife and fellow Teach For America alum Carice Sanchez, who currently serves as the school’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction. 

“Eric and Carice and the Henderson Collegiate community are expanding opportunities for students in a way that is truly inspiring,” said Dr. Monique Perry-Graves, Teach For America North Carolina’s Executive Director. “Accomplishing this level of growth in the face of all the disruptions accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic is remarkable.They have set a new bar for excellence, showing our state what is possible for students when a school community puts equity at the heart of their approach. It is also evident that the TFA North Carolina alumni network continues to be a game-changing force in their leadership and impact on kids.”  

As Teach For America recognizes the accomplishments of the Henderson Collegiate community, the school has also recently recognized the contributions of some specific members of the Teach For America network. In the 2021-2022 school year, 33 Teach For America corps members and alums worked at Henderson Collegiate. Of those, corps member Peter Leonard was honored with the 2021-2022 Excellence in Education Award, and alums Ella Bess Marshall and Janet Jolly were both recipients of the school’s 2022 Keith Burnam, Jr. Award for their “extraordinary contributions extend[ing] past their job description to impact adults and children in multiple schools.” 

When Sanchez first heard the news of their number one ranking, he immediately thought of his staff. “It was a tough year, and our staff endured a lot,” he said. “But all their efforts turned into something special. Their love of kids, their commitment to children, and their commitment to the mission gives me a real sense of pride.”

Kate Liddle, Teach For America alum and Director of Talent Acquisition at Henderson Collegiate, also said these extraordinary academic results stem from a true team effort. “These outcomes are definitely a testament to the hard work of our students and teachers,” shared Liddle, who is leading hiring efforts for these open roles at the school. 

“We are looking for people who put intention into action and give our kids an experience that is different from anywhere around the country,” said Sanchez. 

Sanchez has high hopes for the future of Henderson Collegiate, and last year’s growth results have only deepened his resolve for the school moving forward. “We are just scratching the surface of what our children are capable of, and as a result, what they are going to achieve,” he said. “I know that the best is ahead of us.”



Since 1990, Teach For America has brought nearly 4,000 leaders to North Carolina, working in partnership with communities across the state to expand educational opportunities for students. Each year, Teach For America places and supports 225+ teacher leaders in 9 school districts and charter school networks across Eastern North Carolina, Charlotte, and the Piedmont Triad. These corps members impact over 19,000 North Carolina public school students each year. Moreover, Teach For America North Carolina supports the leadership development of the 2,000+ alumni who continue to live, work, and worship across our great state.