Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
Professor Silvester Henderson
helps you in your leadership.
Professor Silvester Henderson
Name: Professor Silvester Henderson
Title: Professor & Chair (Tenure) & Dean (Acting/Past)*
Organisation: Los Medanos College/College of Alameda*
Professor Silvester Carl Henderson
Recently honored with the A2MEND Educational Leadership Award -2020, Professor Henderson is also the recipient of the Albert Nelson 2019 Marquis “Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award”. Professor Silvester Carl Henderson is a nationally recognized Professor, educator, conference motivational speaker, business owner, respected real estate investor, community artistic organizer, musician/artist, internet radio blog personality, and conductor of the Gospel Song.
Professor Henderson was recently Re-Elected to the “Executive Committee” for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC). Comprised of 14 members, the ASCCC "Executive Committee" is the major governing board, that advises and advocates for changes and implementation regarding new educational laws and policies. This body supports academic and professional matters for 72,000 California Professors and two million, two hundred thousand students. As the Chair of the “Part-Time Committee” and Emeritus Chair of the “Equity Diversity & Action Committee”, for the ASCCC, Professor Henderson, advocates, for Faculty Diversity, Foster Youth, Inmate Education, and academic access for African American Males. Inducted into the “2017 Pittsburg Entertainment and Arts Hall of Fame”, Professor Henderson earned his Bachelor of Music and his Master of Arts Degrees from San Francisco State University.
He taught there from 1984 to 1994 as a Professor/Lecturer of Piano and Music Theory. During the Fall of 2016, The Gospel Academy Awards, Inc. presented Professor Henderson with a “Gospel Music Academy Award” for his efforts in promoting “Higher Education”, through the usage of African American Gospel Music. Presently, he serves as the Full-Time Tenure Professor of Choral/Vocal Activities and Emeritus Chair of the Music Department at the Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California.
Professor Henderson directs the College Chorus, Chamber Chorale, and the Gospel Choir. In addition to those responsibilities, he also teaches voice classes, applied vocal lessons, music theory, class piano, musicianship, classical piano, and gospel piano. During the Fall of 2000, Professor Henderson developed a “Gospel Piano Curriculum”, which was the only collegiate academic course of its type in the State of California. Mr. Henderson is an Emeritus Professor/Lecturer of African American Studies and Music from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as the original director of the internationally acclaimed Young Inspiration Gospel Choir (YIGC) from 1985 – 2005. In April of 1992, YIGC recorded their first live album entitled, “The Gospel Experience”.
The album is placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute’s Gospel Music Division, and accordingly, they named YIGC as the "finest" university gospel choir in the nation. The choir sold over one hundred thousand copies of this historic recording. In November of 1998, The “Second Gospel Experience” was released, which has been shared by over forty-five thousand purchasers. The Professor’s achievements can be found in “Gospel Digest” World News and World News. In January 2015, Professor Henderson was appointed as Professor/Lecturer of Choral/Vocal Activities for the College of Alameda’s Department of Music. From this appointment, the “Gospel Explosion Community Concert Series” was created.
Professor Henderson has organized community concerts and performed with celebrity classical opera artists, gospel, jazz, broadway stars, rhythm and blues artist, and musical greats such as Richard Smallwood, Reverend Daryl Coley, the late Walter Hawkins, and the Love Center Choir, Kurt Carr, Quincey Fielding, Ron Kenoly Sr., V. Michael McKay, the late Helen Stephens and the Lighthouse Singers of Marin, Ca, Micah Stampley, Jon Gibson (the artist who paired with Stevie Wonder for the remake of “Have a Talk with God”), Billy Porter (New York Broadway Star and Soundtrack Artist for Bette Midler’s “First Wives Club”), James Iglehart (New York Broadway Star from Aladdin), Vesta, Howard Hewett, Kenny Lattimore, Gerald Albright, LaToya London, Chris Walker, Kathy Taylor Brown, Kevin LeVar, Anita Wilson, and most recently Keisha Renee, the vocal artist from the TV show entitled “The Voice”.
Mr. Henderson has served as musician and Minister of Music for over thirty-eight years at the Bay Area’s prominent Palma Ceia Baptist Church, located in Hayward, CA. During the Professor’s early administrative leadership, one of Silvester’s most endeared accomplishments was to manage, organize and lead the entire department to record their “First Album/CD” entitled, “One Body In Christ”. Over ten thousand copies of this highly successful musical creation were sold and have been shared with listeners as far as Japan and Africa. Over the course of close to forty years, Professor Henderson has been the recipient of many prestigious educational, religious, and community awards. He won the National Piano Competition from the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc., which was founded by the late gospel legend Reverend James Cleveland.
He was also nominated by the Bay Area’s Gospel Academy Awards as the Outstanding Pianist of the Year from 1992-1996. Professor Henderson was named the “Most Influential African American Educator” by the Intel Corporation and the City Flight News magazine, in 2001. The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. awarded him the "Outstanding Community Leader Award. Professor Henderson was honored with two City Proclamations by the California cities of Pittsburg and Martinez. These honors were awarded for his continuing efforts in using Gospel Music as a tool to support the value of “Higher Education”.
Both cities named the first Saturday in May, “Gospel Celebration Day”. The Offices of Emeritus Congressman Pete Starks, Congressman Eric Swalwell, along with Emeritus Mayor Michael Sweeney, have bestowed upon Professor Henderson “Congressional Honors” and “Certificates of Commendation”, for bringing academic recognition of the artistic value of the gospel song through unifying African American and Latino American communities. California Assembly Members Johan Kleh, Jim Frazier, Susan Bonilla, and Senators Liz Figueroa, Ellen Corbett and Mark DeSaulnier, have presented Professor Henderson with many California Legislature Resolutions and Political Documents of Recognition for his extraordinary musical achievements and his work as an educator and artist to the people of Contra Costa.
“Mr. Gospel/Jazz Production (Professor Henderson’s Performing Company) has arranged entertainment for personalities such as Reverend Jesse Jackson – “Operation Push” (Silicon Valley Branch, Honorable Emeritus Assemblyman Willie Brown, La Casa de las Madre, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and many noted political and county organizations. The professor was also awarded the 2004 “NAACP Educational Integrity Award”. On April 25, 2005, the University of California at Berkeley, College of Letters and Science, presented Professor Henderson with an “Educational Commendation” for his twenty years of highly valued service to the university and campus community.
Registered in the “International Star Registry” was an honor bestowed upon Professor Henderson on May 7, 2005. Professor Henderson is included in the “Who's Who Among America's Teachers”, and “Cambridge Who’s Who Registry” of Executive and Professionals. Additionally, he is part of the Remington’s Registry of Professionals, which only recognizes one thousand of the most noted “Successful Executives and Professionals” in the United States, once a decade, as part of the Library of Congress. “Professor Henderson was honored on April 29, 2006, by the 35th Academy of Gospel Music Awards” in the area of “Sacred Choral Music”. On July 28, 2011, AOL’s “Patch Online” Newspaper featured a story that “Celebrated” his many achievements.
On January 12, 2012, he was presented with the “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Community Award” from Dow Chemical located in Pittsburg, CA. This award was given to him because of his highly successful efforts in promoting higher education and diversity through the usage of Gospel Music. Moreover, the Professor was the winner of the “Professor of the Year” award for the 2012-2013 academic years, sponsored by the Los Medanos College Academic Senate. Professor Henderson has been the owner of “Mr. Gospel Properties and Investments” for close to three decades. Because of his business acumen, the San Francisco Chronicle honored the Professor with a featured story on August 7, 2012, entitled, “Mr. Gospel lifted by Music, Investments and Houses”.
This article is an international publication of his success, business acumen and unstoppable perseverance. Professor Henderson was named "Quarterfinalist" for the International Grammy Association's Music Educator Award, 2014. During the Fall of 2013, he was appointed “Academic Senate President” for Los Medanos College. On April 26, 2014, Professor Henderson was awarded the 2014 “Community Service Award” from the East County Branch of the NAACP. On October 21, 2014, Professor Henderson was presented with the 2014 “Art Recognition Award” from the Contra Costa County Arts and Culture Commission.
On July 1, 2016, Professor was voted/appointed as “President” of the “Faculty Senate Coordinating Council” for the Contra Costa Community College District. This position required the Professor to serve as a communication link between the Senates of the participating campuses and the District Chancellor and/or his/her representatives. Most recently Professor Henderson served as the Acting Dean of STEAM for College of Alameda. Under this post, he served as the central manager for the Divisions of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Professor Silvester Carl Henderson’s educational objective is to ensure a permanent academic home for African American Music within Higher Education.
Professor Henderson married Cecile Henderson during his early twenties. The Professor resides in Stockton, California, and is the father of three daughters named Carlena, Celisse, and Charde.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The ability to negotiate consultant compensations, vendor payments, creative artist matters, via a political and academic structure that does not understand the complexities of the entertainment industry.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My leadership journey began as a Young Youth working in Church as a Musician and Choral Director. At some point in my early 30s, having the deal with the emotions of volunteer choral participants (close to 400), on a weekly basis, forced me to start planning and strategizing my leadership responses while carefully documenting my decisions. Working in a Faith Based Leader structure requires a great deal of human sensitivity and people skills. I learned to “Think Outside the Box" while meeting actionable goals (massive community concerts, staffing and tours, community presentations & etc). while honoring the governance structure of the volunteer participants, who faithfully support the ministry. What I learned from my appointments as the Minister of Music from a Mega Church Ministry, carried over into my personal business (Mr. Gospel Properties) and my Academic Appointments - Professor & Chair of the Los Medanos College Department of Music.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I maintain a strict calendar of events. I carefully plan each day (including the days I am to rest) at the start of each month. I manage the following task:
a). Minister of Music/Administrator – Palma Ceia Baptist Church Department of Music
b). Professor & Chair of the Department of Music – Los Medanos College
c). Chief Executive Operator – Mr. Gospel Properties
b). Associate Music Faculty – College of Alameda
I construct very structured days, seven days a week. This allows me the opportunity to effectively meet my obligations while planning for the future regarding all of my many appointments.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Always take your time when making decisions. Remember, people rarely forgive or forget. Carefully manage your leadership messages and analyze your options before communicating your final decisions. Remember a title does not make you the ultimate leader! Real Leaders are allowed by people!
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Bible. I have encountered several publics and professional violations and political attacks. All public information was misleading and 100% untrue. Because of my national success, I have encountered many haters. Romans 12:19-21 reminds us that "Vengeance" is mine said the Lord. I have learned that you develop strong character and greater leadership strength via adversity. Learn to turn your Problems into a Blessings!
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
• Learn the impact and benefit of listening.
• Develop knowledge regarding your profession! Become an Expert!
• Stop listening to the status quo. You are who you listen to!
• Develop great skills in Professional Management and Cultural Support!
• Demonstrate Fiscal Management Skills.
• Develop Skills in Fund Raising!
• Treat All Staff Equally!
• Do not support any form of Discrimination!
• Study Great Faith Based Leaders. Higher Education is like a Church minus Theology!
• Seek to serve, not to be served.
• Set Clear Standards.
• Stay Innovative and Creative.
• Love Faculty, Staff and Students.
• Get involved in your community!
• Know your Local Leaders, Media and Business Professionals.
• LOVE EVERYBODY!
• Learn Technology!
• Pray Every Day and Stay Positive!
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I took the time to weekly visit an inmate in a prison for many months. It was important to me to support the goals and dreams of the inmate. Because the inmate experienced challenges, I spoke nothing by "Positive Affirmation" to this person. The inmate is now completing a Ph.D.