Holmes Promoted to Senior VP of Equity and Innovation
Edward S. Holmes, Ph.D.
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
Madison, Wis. — Sandra Gajic, president and CEO of Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts, and the
Overture Center Foundation (OCF) Board of Directors announced today that Edward S. Holmes, PhD. has
accepted a newly created position, senior vice president of equity and innovation.
“Dr. Holmes’ former position laid the groundwork for Overture’s next steps in our response to the Racial
Equity Initiative implemented in 2016,” said Gajic. “His new role expands his responsibilities to implement
programs that not only shine light on the issues, but also use the visual and performing arts as a bridge to
understanding and communications.”

In 2014, the OCF Board was moved to action after reading the Race to Equity Report issued by the
Wisconsin Council on Children & Families (Now Kids Forward) and created Overture’s response, the
Racial Equity Initiative. Holmes was hired in August 2016 as the center’s first director of diversity and

The new position was created with the Board’s Executive Committee approval of a new role in the center’s
equity, diversity and inclusion portfolio with the authority to oversee the creation and implementation of an
organizational framework.

Prior to coming to Overture, Dr. Holmes spent 38 years in community-based and public educational
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
“I am excited to move to the next phase of this journey at Overture in the role
of senior VP of equity and innovation. It is a clear vote of confidence and
deliberate message that Overture, as an organization, is committed to the
ideals of equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Dr. Holmes. “While equity is the
why and what, innovation is the how. We need to be intentional about utilizing
new ideas, creative thoughts, new imaginations and methods in the
application of better solutions that address both challenges and
opportunities from multiple perspectives using ‎inter-disciplinary views and

Overture’s commitment to equity in Madison begins with its vision to provide
“Extraordinary Experiences for All” and mission to “Support and Elevate Our
Community’s Creative Culture, Economy and Quality of Life Through the Arts.”

As part of the initiative, Overture adopted four areas of focus:
•        Equity in Employment and Governance
•        Equity in Community Access
•        Equity in Programs and Education
•        Equity in Purchasing