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January 24, 2021

Danielle Holmes Is AHA’s first Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Danielle Holmes has been named the Academy of the Holy Angels’ first director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Holmes, a member of AHA’s Class of 2003, will return to her alma mater on Monday, February 1, 2021.


“We are looking forward to collaborating with Danielle to improve our community’s understanding and capacity for diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said AHA President Melinda Hanlon. “The administration team is happy to welcome her back to AHA.”


This director’s post was established as part of AHA’s commitment to promoting greater equity and inclusion within the Academy. Holmes’ appointment also facilitates AHA’s Middle States goal to foster cultural proficiency at Holy Angels.

“I’m definitely excited to start,” Holmes said. As the first person to step into the new directorship, Holmes said she is looking forward to building the post. She plans to begin by taking a closer look at student, faculty, and staff needs.


“Some things you can make happen quickly, and some things not yet. They may take more time,” she noted. “Sometimes you’re looking to be the person you may have needed when you were in school.”


Holmes highlighted the importance of understanding, mutual appreciation, empathy, and emotional intelligence. She pointed out the vital nature of understanding nuances and being intentional. She is also cognizant of the fear of not knowing if you’re doing the right thing.


“It’s OK to make a mistake. It’s what you do afterward,” Holmes said, adding that it’s important for people to be accountable and responsible.


Holmes hails from New York City, and spent her middle school years at Saint Anthony School. She continued to commute to Saint Anthony’s after her family moved to Hackensack. Following her graduation from Holy Angels, Holmes earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at Rider University. She then branched out and received her master’s in organizational leadership with a focus on higher education from Rider University. Holmes is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Saint Peter’s University.

The new director began her career at McDaniel College, where she specialized in student conduct, crisis response, and foundational work in the area of diversity. She worked closely with the director of diversity, and eventually landed the post of interim director.


At Stevens Institute of Technology, Holmes handled housing, crisis response, conflict resolution, and diversity assessment. Her many responsibilities included evaluating Student Affairs documents, including internship applications and surveys, for inclusive language.


She is a frequent guest lecturer, and has presented seminars concerning anti-racism, diversity, student engagement and conflict resolution, and how social media can affect one’s career.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.