CCSSO Announces New Chief Equity Officer

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Washington, D.C. –– CCSSO is proud to announce the addition of Annie Holmes as the organization’s first Chief Equity Officer.  

Holmes, who has nearly two decades of experience including higher education, equity and inclusion, and community development financing, also is an expert in strategic planning and implementation, workplace climate assessment, bridging relationships, and driving high impact goals. 

“Focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our internal operations at CCSSO and how we prioritize our work with states, has been a huge priority for us in the past year; hiring a Chief Equity Officer is a part of that vision,” said Executive Director Carissa Moffat Miler. “Annie has vast experience in equity and inclusion at several different organizations, from institutions of higher education to a non-profit membership organization, where she set clear goals for equity and inclusion and led the successful implementation of these goals, in close collaboration with all stakeholders – from students to organizational leaders. She also brings a visible passion and excitement for joining CCSSO and building upon the progress we have made against our commitment to equity internally and externally.” 

Throughout her career, Holmes has served as a trusted advisor to organizational executives and presidents on policy changes, internal and external communications, employee and student issues, corporate relations, and implementing best practices to enhance organizational culture and climate. Her experience includes serving as an equity and diversity officer at three different organizations, including institutions of higher education. For example, at Penn State, she advised and consulted with campus chancellors, deans and other academic leaders across a decentralized matrixed institution toward engaging an inclusive workplace and learning environment. While at Cal Poly, Holmes established the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion. She collaborated with other institutional leaders to change policies and procedures that enhanced the recruitment of underrepresented faculty and students. She also advised on responses to incidents of bias, managed a data-driven faculty/student mentoring research program, funded faculty and staff associations, and collaborated with campus leaders to enhance retention.

In addition, Holmes has strong experience working on equity and inclusion for a nonprofit membership organization. While at Opportunity Finance Network, she led a cross-functional team toward enhancing the organizational culture and supported three chief executive officers through crisis management, change management, and organizational growth. 

“Educational equity has always been a passion of mine. Ever since I taught in my first classroom almost 20 years ago, I knew that I wanted to work hard to make sure all students are afforded the opportunity to reach their goals” said Holmes. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work with my new colleagues on the CCSSO team and with state agencies as we embark upon this timely and important work.”

Holmes received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Temple University and two masters’ degrees from The Pennsylvania State University. She is currently completing her doctoral work in adult education and lifelong learning from The Pennsylvania State University. 

Holmes, who officially starts work this week, will be relocating to the D.C. area with her husband Clifton, II and three children: Clifton, III, Jayden and Lincoln.




The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress and the public.



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