Cast Your Vote for 2021-22 Holmes Officers
Meet the nominees for the 2021-22 Holmes Council Elections. Each Holmes institution is entitled to one vote, which must be submitted by the Holmes Program Coordinator. Program Coordinators are encouraged to confer with their scholars for input on each candidate prior to completing the e-ballot. E-ballots must be completed via the AACTE Voting System. The window to cast votes will begin on January 28, 2021, through February 12, 2021.
Nominees for President
Oumarou Abdoulaye Balarabe, Ohio University
(Nominated by Carla Roberson, peer)
Leadership experience: President of Graduate Senate and Fulbright Scholar
Relevant skills: Knowledge of Higher Education and Student Affairs
Vision for the Holmes Council: Balarabe is committed and dedicated to engaging Holmes Program participants. He will ensure that he exercises best practices and leadership skills as president. He also will employ technology and virtual outreach strategies to communicate regularly with the Holmes scholars and Council members.
Nominee for Vice President
Leslie Ekpe, Texas Christian University
(Nominated by Jan Lancina, professor and Holmes coordinator)
Leadership experience: Student Affairs Coach with TCU Student Affairs; Graduate Representative for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Ambassador for the Southern Management Association; and Schweitzer Fellow. Ekpe leads through courage and conversation. During the current (COVID-19) crisis, she held numerous conversations with leaders on campus, and published opinion pieces to influence change, including the article, “A Pandemic Amongst a Pandemic: The Black Community is Exhaused” in the publication Inside Higher Education. This publication reaches a wide range of professionals, and she not only presented a call for change, but provided specific ways that change must occur. Ekpe is a clear leader who seeks to bring positive changes to society.
Relevant skills: Epke has a positive leadership style and brings out the very best in others. She has strong communication skills, is highly professional, and is a team player dedicated to collaboration. Ekpe also possesses strong research skills and most importantly, is a positive leader and has the skills and background to develop positive relationships with a variety of stakeholders.
Vision for the Holmes Council: Ekpe is dedicated and passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within K-12 and higher education. She is inclusive of all—and as a leader on the Council, such a vision is essential. Ekpe not only has the scholarly background within the field of DEI, but she has the practical experiences in K-12 and higher education. Having this type of vision is important for the Vice President role as she would work closely with AACTE leaders as well as with the Holmes President.
Ekpe leads through courage and conversation. During the current (COVID-19) crisis, she held numerous conversations with leaders on campus, and published opinion pieces to influence change, including the article, “A Pandemic Amongst a Pandemic: The Black Community is Exhaused” in the publication Inside Higher Education. This publication reaches a wide range of professionals, and she not only presented a call for change, but provided specific ways that change must occur. Ekpe is a clear leader who seeks to bring positive changes to society.
Nominees for Secretary
Dilian Rolins, University of Central Florida
(Nominated by Galaxina Wright, peer)
Leadership experience: Historian of the UCF Holmes chapter and President of UCF’s Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) chapter. While in her leadership roles, Rolins has demonstrated an adaptable leadership style where she is able to take charge when necessary, remains open-minded to learn from others, and delegates tasks appropriately when needed. Within both her professional and academic duties.
Relevant skills: Rolins has brought a solution-focused mindset, emphasizing collaboration among group members to come to a common ground. She is also consistent and intentional with following up with initiatives and planning events in a timely manner. Lastly, Rolins brings a warm and positive spirit that adds to the rapport built with her colleagues to create a productive environment.
Perhaps a primary asset of Rolins is her ability to effectively communicate to her team, including unique needs that are related to crisis. There have been times of crisis during her previous roles of leadership where she has had to quickly adapt to alternative platforms or plans of action in order for organizational initiatives to continue (i.e., running an online symposium, developing CSI Talk Series events, etc.).
Vision for the Holmes Council: Rolins’ vision for the Holmes Council is to be a voice for graduate students of color to create a sense of community and resource, which is particularly vital due to the current climate of our nation. Rolins firmly believes in the power of mentorship, connection, and collaboration, and believes her organizational skills would emphasize those values while serving as Secretary.
Rachel Torres, Wayne State University
(Nominated by Erica Edwards, assistant professor and Holmes coordinator)
Leadership experience: Project leader for a research project in partnership with Ed Trust – Midwest (ETM), an education policy think tank. In this position, she regularly communicated with the project leaders at ETM and the students working on the research. This involved regular email communication regarding updates, project coordination, timelines, remaining tasks, and any other communication related to moving the project forward.
Relevant Skills: Torres will bring her organizational and communication skills to this position. She frequently maintains short-term and long-term planners so that she is aware of what needs to be done daily as well as over the long term. She is also able to leverage these skills while encouraging others to do their best and keep going during difficult times, and she is mindful of issues around inclusion. Her hope is to ensure that everyone feels like they add value to the organization while overseeing processes to ensure smooth project management.
Vision for the Holmes Program: Torres desires to lead the way in progressive research and personal and professional development for and with marginalized communities in higher education. As a researcher and project coordinator in her professional experience, she was regularly confronted by the hectic life and schedules of students and other stakeholders. Although the crises they faced were on a micro level, it still impacted the quality of their product, timeline, and energy. Still, she was able to provide frequent positive reinforcement and clear timelines, and in doing so, created a sense of calm. Her personable demeanor makes people feel seen and valued even when circumstances are difficult, much like those we face under COVID and isolation.
Nominees for Historian
Nominees for Sergeant at Arms
Nominees for Research Coordinator
Cara Jones, Texas Christian University
Leadership experience: Curriculum lead, data analyst, instructional specialist, and administrator in the Fort Worth Independent School District. Her leadership is authentic and situational—adapting to what is needed in the moment to ensure success for all that she works with.
Relevant skills: Jones is passionate about research and learning opportunities for students. She has worked as a project manager of a non-profit coordinating all equity and innovation projects, curriculum, and professional development opportunities for the past two years, while in graduate school at TCU. She has attended multiple professional conferences in K-12 and higher education, and believes in providing as many opportunities, connections, and conversations as possible for graduate students to be successful.
Vision for Holmes Council: The Holmes Council exists to serve the needs and opportunities for all Holmes Scholars to engage meaningfully and successfully in their work. The Holmes Program community and the ability to design learning strands, friendships, and career goals is dependent and reliant on the Council. As the research coordinator, Jones wants to ensure that every Holmes Scholar sees themselves represented in the literature, preconference, and scholarly presentations that are available.
Nominees for Social Media Coordinator
Nominees for General Alternate I
Paul Massy, Florida Atlantic University
Leadership experience: Former president of the Student Association at Corinth Teachers College. He is also in his second term as an executive member of the FAU College of Education Student Achievement Council and currently serves as its President. Massy’s leadership style is collaborative, communicative, and transformational. He looks forward to the members’ diverse views and collective solutions to respond to the challenges ahead.
Relevant skills: Massy is a team player and always willing to learn. Most importantly, he works diligently, adapts easily and stands ready to assist the organization and fellow executive members as a General Alternate.
Vision for the Holmes Council: Massy’s vision for the Holmes Council is to continue to develop a conducive environment for Holmes Scholars to take advantage of mentorship, professional development and networking opportunities. As a General Alternate, he intends to work with everyone to provide peer support and strengthen relationships with the Holmes Alumni network, AACTE membership, and other relevant stakeholders. Due to the challenges posed by COVID-19, Massy intends to utilize technology to continue the Council’s work, and to respond to scholars’ needs accordingly.
Anthony Webster, Wayne State University
(Nominated by Erica Edwards, assistant professor and Holmes coordinator)
Leadership experience: Webster prides himself on being a servant leader. As a leader, he strives to be a resource for those who look to him for guidance. As the president of Jackson State University National Alumni Association Detroit Chapter, he manages a chapter of 150 active members. Members of the alumni association are committed to service, recruitment, and engaging with students within the City of Detroit interested in attending the university. During his time as president, the chapter has received national recognitions that focus on student recruitment, community service, and increasing membership. His vision of equity in exposure also led him to run for and be selected as the president-elect for the Michigan Occupational Special Populations Association in 2017. In this position, Webster provides leadership and direction to both secondary and post-secondary educators across the State of Michigan dedicated to increasing the knowledge and exposure of Career and Technical Education opportunities for all students. Others would say that Webster is a “get it done” leader who leads with compassion and people first. He understands the complexities of leadership. His “we” not “me” leadership philosophy is essential when motivating a team to achieve goals and collaborating with others.
Relevant skills: According to his Clifton Strengths Finder results, three of Webster’s top strengths are achiever, woo, and significance. His achiever theme allows him to work hard and possess a great deal of stamina. He also takes immense satisfaction in being busy and productive. Webster’s second theme, woo, gives him the ability to embrace the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. This characteristic is also essential when it is time for networking and making connections. His strength in significance motivates him to make an impact in whatever space he occupies. Lastly, his ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds will also serve him well in this position as he is always looking for ways to bring people together and not divide them.
Vision for Holmes Council: Webster’s dedication to advancing access and opportunities for historically marginalized students through education inspires him the most. His vision for the Holmes Council is for it to thrive. He also wishes to use this platform to continue to connect underrepresented scholars from across the world as they enhance their knowledge and skills to be movers and shakers within the academy.
Nominees for General Alternate II
Nominees for Master’s Representative
Tags: Holmes Program