The National Association of Holmes Alumni supports the professional development and leadership among its members and scholars of color to enhance research, practice and policy within the broader education profession. While upholding the ideals of equity, diversity, and inclusion, NAHSA seeks to foster collaborative relationships within the profession as well as organizational sustainability.
History of the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni
Persuaded by the need for significant educational reform efforts to improve public schools and teaching and learning in K-12 public schools, the Holmes Partnership® (initially the Holmes Group) was formed in the 1980’s to engage in educational reform efforts. While the Holmes Partnership® intended to accomplish a number of goals relevant to educational reform, one of its initial and on-going goals is the promotion of equity, diversity, and cultural competence with the profession. Consistent with this particular goal, the Holmes Partnership® developed a Holmes Scholar’s® program through which individuals from traditionally underrepresented ethnic groups would be skillfully mentored to engage in innovative teacher preparation and to assume leadership positions in higher education. Since its inception, more than 600 Holmes Scholars have graduated from the program. Holmes Scholars Alumni hold roles throughout the profession worldwide, including positions in higher education and the public sector.
Later the Holmes Scholars Alumni recognized a clear need to mentor and support current scholars in their endeavors to successfully navigate the professorate. It was exceedingly apparent to the alumni that there was a need to develop a formal structure to ensure the continued professional development and support of scholars to facilitate their ability to impact educational reform and policy. Thus, a group of Holmes Scholars Alumni met at the 10th Anniversary of the Holmes Partnership® in January 2001 in Albuquerque, New Mexico to begin this great work. At the initial meeting, a workgroup was developed to explore the formation of an organization. Dr. Vincent Mumford was the designated Chair and the members of this workgroup included Drs. Wanda J. Blanchett, Faye Hicks-Townes, Irene Houston, Kimberly Woo and Janet Mason. Later, Drs. Otherine Neisler and Dianne Mark were added to this workgroup, which was termed the Leadership Team.
Under this leadership team, the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) began its journey to become an organized body within the structure of the Holmes Partnership® to ensure the professional development, support, and mentorship of Holmes Scholars® and Holmes Scholars Alumni alike. In June 2001, the Holmes Partnership® hosted NAHSA’s 1st Spring Leadership Retreat in Washington D.C. in conjunction with their Board of Directors’ Meeting. The result of this meeting was a draft of NAHSA’s operating guidelines. In October 2001, the Holmes Partnership® voted to accept NAHSA’s proposed operating guidelines and to recognize NAHSA as an organization within its structure.
In May 2002, the NAHSA Leadership Team held its 2nd Annual Leadership Retreat that was sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the UWM School of Education. The result of this meeting was the election of officers and the development of a strategic plan. Dr. Wanda J. Blanchett was elected Chair of the Leadership Team, Dr. Otherine Neisler, Vice-Chair, Dr. Vincent Mumford, Treasurer, Drs. Faye Hicks-Towns and Kimberly Woo, Secretaries, Dr. Janet Mason, Board Member, and Dr. Carolyn Hopp, Members At-Large. At its first annual business meeting in February 2003, Drs. Sheketa McKisick, Rhonda Burke-Spero and Kimberly Scott-Peter were elected to the Leadership Team.
In the fall of 2007, NAHSA held its first professional development conference for teachers in the Charleston County School District (Charleston, SC). Drs. Angela Cozart, Faye Hicks-Townes and Wanda J. Blanchett provided the conference leadership. NAHSA board members conducted the conference workshops.
On May 30, 2002, NAHSA's Leadership Team voted to become and independent nonprofit organization to work collaboratively with the Holmes Partnership® and other relevant organizations, entities, and individuals who support its mission and goals.
In 2009, NAHSA became a dues paying member of the Holmes Partnership®. The organization has grown under the leaderships of Chairman Dr. Vince Mumford and presidents Drs. Wanda J. Blanchett, Socorro Herrera, and Jacob Easley II.