Edward S. Holmes has been named Overture Center for the Art’s first-ever Director of Diversity & Inclusion.
“We are thrilled to have Ed join our team to extend Overture’s presence into our communities,” said Ted DeDee, president and CEO of Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts, and the Overture Center Foundation Board of Directors. “Our core belief is that the arts are a critical means by which a whole community can come together, celebrate and thrive educationally, artistically, socially and economically.”
In 2014, the Board of Overture Center Foundation (OCF) was moved to action after reading the Race to Equity Report issued by the Wisconsin Council on Children & Families and created Overture’s response, the Racial Equity Initiative.
A press conference and official welcome will be held at Overture Center on Thursday, Sept. 15, 4 p.m. At this event, Holmes and DeDee, as well as Chairman of the OCF Board, Charlie Saeman, will be available to answer questions from community members and media.
Dr. Holmes has 38 years of experience in community-based and public educational programs including ten years as Principal at Madison West High School. While at this school, Dr. Holmes’ successes included:
· Keeping West High School consistently ranked as one of the top public high schools in the State of Wisconsin for a decade through composite SAT and ACT scores, number of National Merit finalists and Presidential Scholars
· Successfully implementing $1.2 million U.S. Department of Education Smaller Learning Communities grant
· Closing achievement gaps between ethnic minority students and their white student counterparts over a three-year span while raising achievement scores of all student sub groups
· Restructuring the school to create opportunities for 250 faculty and staff to engage with 2,200 students daily through the West High Lunch and Learn Program
“As the principal of West High School, I was responsible for leading a diverse student body and 250 staff members daily. We advanced equity, inclusion and diversity as an institutional value that was at the core of the day to day operation and overall mission, vision and philosophy of the school,” said Holmes. “The opportunity to work with the community using the arts as a catalyst is very exciting.”
The Overture Center has adopted four areas of focus around its mission to enrich the lives of individuals and the community by creating, encouraging and catalyzing extraordinary experiences including equity in employment and governance; purchasing; programs and education; and community access.
“Although some of the initiative’s goals have been met since the initial launch of these focus areas, we are looking to Ed to broaden the reach of Overture through programs that foster the practice that Overture is here for everyone,” said DeDee.