Rebecca Holmes, a former associate state education commissioner with experience working as a teacher and charter school executive, as well as for private foundations and in the private sector, was announced Tuesday as the next president and CEO of the Colorado Education Initiative.
Holmes will take over the role in January, leaving her current position as a senior program officer with the Denver-based Gates Family Foundation. (The foundation is a financial supporter of Chalkbeat).
“We’re excited that Rebecca is joining the CEI team,” Leroy Williams, the nonprofit group’s board chairman, said in a statement. “Her experienced leadership, vision, and passion for making a difference in Colorado education is contagious — while she understands the dynamics and unique challenges of Colorado’s K-12 public education system. Her wealth of experience and ability to partner and collaborate will be great assets in advancing CEI’s mission to help all students achieve success.”
The Colorado Education Initiative describes itself as an independent nonprofit working with the Colorado Department of Education, educators, schools, districts and others “to accelerate educational improvement and innovation across Colorado.” The organization provides teacher training and supports STEM education, health and wellness programs, and other programs.
CEI has been in leadership flux over the last couple of years. Chief financial officer Sandy Sales has been serving as interim president and CEO since the departure of Glenna Norvelle, who resigned in June after just over a year in the position.
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Holmes, who has degrees from Yale and Harvard, started off teaching in Denver, became chief executive officer of the KIPP charter school network’s Colorado schools and also has worked for Deloitte Consulting.
In her state role, Holmes served as associate commissioner for innovation, choice and engagement. She was among a number of high-ranking education department officials who left after the 2015 retirement of former education commissioner Robert Hammond.