UF 40 Under 40 Honoree Kelly Henderson gives back to community through education, entrepreneurship

Kelly Henderson’s career path has included teaching full time in the classroom, delving into the business world and even opening her own school. 

Henderson, a 2024 UF 40 Under 40 Honoree, credits her inspiring career trajectory to where her roots began: the UF College of Education.

Henderson graduated with her bachelor’s in elementary education in 2006, then with her master’s in elementary education a year later. Two of the most beneficial experiences at Norman were getting to work with her cohort and the internships she did senior year and during her master’s, she said.

“That collaborative effort really helped prepare us for the real world,” she said.

During her time teaching in Johns Creek, Georgia, Henderson taught Fulton County’s Early Intervention program. Her classroom focused on meeting the needs of a neurodivergent community and varying her instruction to each individual student.

After seven years of teaching full time, Henderson decided to pursue a new career path. She helped open a new fitness studio in Alpharetta, Georgia, as the lead manager for over four years.

With education and business experience under her belt, Henderson, with her sister and brother-in-law, decided to open a preschool and childcare center in 2019. Thus, Building Kidz of Roswell was born. The school focuses on giving back to the community with service opportunities, charity events and drives. In less than five years, enrollment grew from five children to 176 with a waitlist of over 400 potential students. 

While reflecting on her time as an EduGator, she advised current students to take any experience the college offers. 

“Say yes to any opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s sitting in to hear a speaker or getting to go be on a school campus watching a teacher teach,” Henderson said. “If a teacher asks you to jump in and try to teach something and they offer feedback, take it.”

To read more about the rest of the 2024 honorees, click here.

Dean Glenn Good and alumna Kelly Henderson