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UNF Holmes Scholar Program

The University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services is a proud member of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Holmes Scholar Program. The AACTE Holmes Program supports high achieving doctoral students who self-identify as racially and ethnically diverse and are pursuing doctoral degrees in education at AACTE member institutions. UNF Scholars are selected based on their accomplishments and their commitment to equity and diversity.


UNF Holmes Scholars enjoy the benefit of mentorship at the local and national level, professional development opportunities, and membership in a national network of peers. UNF Holmes scholars have opportunities to present their research at the AACTE annual conference as well as participate in the AACTE Holmes Scholars Summer Policy Institute and AACTE Day on the Hill.


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Meet the Scholars

Easter Brown

Easter Brown

Easter is in her second year in the pursuit of her Ed.D. Easter served as a classroom teacher for six years and three years as Resident Clinical Faculty for a Professional Development School in partnership with the University of North Florida before becoming an elementary school administrator. In continued efforts to bridge the gap between higher education and K-12 education, Easter serves as a member of the Business and Industry Leadership Team for Education and Human Services at FSCJ and UNF’s Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Advisory Board. Easter is passionate in culturally responsive pedagogy in elementary school curriculum and the leadership journeys of Black female educators in predominantly white institutions, specifically K-12 education. She is a proud alumna of FSCJ and Jacksonville University.

Brooke Cobbin

Brooke Cobbin

Brooke is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Educational Leadership Program at UNF. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and graduated from the University of Florida with an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. Brooke is honored to be a part of the Holmes Scholar Program and looks forward to broadening her academic and professional knowledge. She has over ten years of teaching and leadership experience in urban settings at various levels and currently serves as a clinical instructor in elementary education at the University of North Florida. She also represents her cohort on the Ed.D. Steering Committee and serves as a mentor to aspiring educators. Her research interests include how professional development school leaders enact their role in coaching for equity and how action research can serve as a catalyst for culturally responsive pedagogy.
Stephanie Jackson

Stephanie Jackson

Stephanie is a second-year doctoral student in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of North Florida. Stephanie has over 15 years of experience in education and currently serves as the owner of two preschools where she oversees curriculum implementation and professional learning initiatives.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and an M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Stephanie’s experiences in culturally diverse schools with a lack of culturally responsive teaching has led to her vested interest in developing and facilitating professional learning focused on using students’ cultural and ethnic backgrounds to cultivate their academic mindsets. Her research interests include examining the presence of culturally responsive teaching practices in preschool classrooms and understanding how early childhood education programs can lead efforts to eliminate the preschool to prison pipeline.    

Jeania Jones

Jeania Jones

Jeania is a second-year doctoral student in the Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Program at UNF. She received her bachelor’s degree from UNF in Pre-K/Primary Education and master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Teaching and Learning. Jeania has 8 years of teaching experience in Title I urban elementary settings. She currently serves as the Co-Curriculum Area Director, Lead Field I Instructor, Clinical Supervisor, and Faculty in Residence at the University of North Florida in the Elementary Program of the College of Education and Human Services. She serves as a mentor to recent graduates and aspiring educators that are current students at UNF. Her research interests focus on the influence that professional learning communities for culturally responsive teaching have on teacher’s self-efficacy within professional development schools.  

Charles McWhite Resized

Charles McWhite

Charles McWhite is a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership program at the University of North Florida.  A former elementary school teacher, he is currently the principal at Tiger Academy Elementary School, a YMCA public charter school located in Jacksonville, Florida.  A native of Jacksonville, Charles received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his master’s degree from the University of North Florida.  He currently coordinates the curriculum implementation process and professional development activities at Tiger Academy.  Charles has experience as an administrator in both elementary and secondary schools.  He has served as a volunteer for AdvancED on school accreditation reviews for schools as well as districts in multiple states, including Florida, Georgia and Michigan.   His research interests include school choice and effective professional development implementation in the K-5 setting. 

Tommy Silas

Tommy Silas

“Coach” Tommy Silas is a school-based administrator at an academic acceleration school, a member of the “Divine 29” Doctoral Cohort at UNF, and a member of the first Freshman class admitted to UNF. Tommy is a native of Orlando, but attend Jacksonville public schools. As a coach, he was a Level II USATF Track & Field and Cross Country and Coach of the Year at Raines High School. Throughout his career as an educator and student advocate, he has worked to make the inclusion of marginalized students in academically rigorous events the norm and has inspired students to excel. His research interests focus on teacher bias and students attending academic remediation schools.


Dione Thomas Webber Headshot

Dione Webber

Dione Webber is an school-based administrator at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School located in Jacksonville Florida. Prior to becoming an administrator, she was an instructional math coach at the Bridge to Success Academy, a double promotion program for students two to three years’ overage for grade. As a teacher she taught 9th through 12th grade mathematics at William Marion Raines High School. Having had a range of experiences at schools primarily educating students from lower socio-economic status, Dione is extremely passionate about educating youth through the use of culturally relevant pedagogy and sustained relationships that build students character beyond the walls of the classroom. Her research interests focus on the perspectives and experiences of students that are overage including students who successfully completed school after being overaged.

Doctoral students selected as AACTE Holmes Scholars:

  • Are pursuing a terminal degree in the education field. These individuals may be nominated after successfully completing two semesters of coursework and begin their Scholar status at any point after this that the UNF COEHS is prepared to fully support their participation.
  • Are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in leadership positions in the education and education research fields (especially racial, linguistic, and ethnic minorities, and people with exceptionalities).
  • Intend to be or are engaged in teacher education (pre-service and/or in-service) OR are engaged in fields/specializations with a clear school-based focus (e.g., teacher leadership, curriculum and instruction, educational administration, education technology, or counseling).
  • Demonstrate a commitment to equity and diversity.
  • Agree to participate in university-school-community collaborative partnership activities, including teaching, research, service and advocacy efforts.

Apply to be a Holmes Scholar

The UNF Holmes Scholar Fellowship is awarded to students who are actively working to complete their doctoral degree in PK-12 education. This fellowship awards UNF doctoral students funding to attend Holmes Scholar events. Awards may be renewed for up to three years.

Scholar Benefits

UNF Holmes Scholars enjoy the benefit of mentorship at the local and national level by Holmes Scholar alumni currently in academia and other leadership positions. Scholars have access to a national network of peers with access to dedicated social networks. UNF Holmes Scholars have opportunities to present thier research and participate in dedicated mentoring forums at the AACTE annual conference. Scholars can also participate in leadership and professional development at the national level. For more information on the benefits of being a Holmes Scholar, visit AACTE's Benefits for Students webpage.


Now Accepting Applications for the 2020-21 Academic Year

Applicants are required to submit

  1. an application form,
  2. a cover letter,
  3. a letter of support from a COEHS doctoral teaching faculty member, and
  4. a 3-5 page curriculum vitae/resume.

All application materials are due by email to Dr. David Hoppey no later than August 1. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.


If you are interested in becoming a UNF Holmes Scholar, or would like an application form, contact Dr.David Hoppey at