Chief Equity Officer
Council of Chief State School Officers
Headquarters: Washington, DC
Business: Education Management
To fully support state members in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Council of Chief State School Officers understands that it must first focus on internal goals in these areas.
The most compelling accomplishment for CCSSO in 2018 was the establishment of the Equity Office with the hiring of the Council’s first chief equity officer. Other notable achievements include the following:
- The launch of Aligning Equity for Impact: A 2-year Equity Plan, led by Chief Equity Officer Annie Holmes, to drive the work of the strategic plan through an equity lens by identifying areas for implementation of equity initiatives and strengthening previously implemented work
- A climate survey, which provided baseline data that is being used to examine staff programs and measure organization climate for employees
- The development of internal definitions for diversity, equity, and inclusion as they relate to the organization’s stated mission, vision, and strategic plan
- The “Aligning Equity for Impact: 2-year Equity Plan” developed by the chief equity officer has three pillars: improving organizational climate for diversity, equity and inclusion; supporting state education agencies; and cultivating relationships with partners in the educational equity field. Within each pillar, there are several objectives for 2019; these include more training for staff, updating policies and procedures by applying an equity lens, seeking joint grant funding with partners, and creating a scorecard state education agencies can use to improve their organizations and educational action for students
The organization’s new chief equity officer, Annie Holmes, oversees all internal diversity, equity, and initiatives and strategies; leads the Aligning Equity for Impact initiative; and supports state equity initiatives. Holmes has also commissioned an equity committee to continue to drive internal work with an inclusive voice of diverse staff driving change.
Because CCSSO is a nonprofit organization, its greatest challenge to achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives is funding. Although there has been a great deal of enthusiasm from external partners and members regarding CCSSO’s strategic direction, and staff members are very engaged in the work, limited funding restricts the true impact the Council can make. Chief Equity Officer Holmes has been able to secure some funding to support the work and will continue to identify financial support for the work.