Initiative Staff

The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans is led by an innovative team of individuals who have extensive experience in federal and local government and the private sector.

Alexis K. Holmes, Executive Director

Alexis K. Holmes serves as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans. Most recently she served at the National Education Association as Policy Manager in its Education Policy and Implementation Center. Previously, she was responsible for advocating policies related to secondary schools, career and technical education, and family engagement, and led NEA’s national outreach and engagement of the Black community. Prior to joining NEA, Alexis was director of federal relations at College Board, where she worked closely with educators, institutions, community advocates, and civil rights allies to advance policies that support all students aspirations and postsecondary success. Alexis is a graduate of West Virginia University’s School of Journalism with a focus on public relations and political science.

Dr. Kortne Edogun – Ticey, Deputy Director

Dr. Kortne Edogun-Ticey serves as a Senior Advisor in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the US Department of Education, as well as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. In both capacities, she strives to bring a specific and transferable positionality of lived experiences to her research and practice. She has experience in the nonprofit and government sectors, including serving as the K-12 policy director of a state education agency. Notably, she authored reports that brought data transparency to disparate discipline practices which led to the DC Council’s bill to ban pre-k expulsions, created a strategy for free standardized testing in support of college readiness, and established state processes for supporting chronically truant students. 

Edogun-Ticey is determined to bridge the gap between theory and practice with intentionality. Her recent research is a longitudinal, explanatory mixed-methods study on equitable access to advanced academic pathways.  Edogun-Ticey holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, a Bachelor of Arts in French, and a Master of Public Policy from Vanderbilt University, as well as a Doctorate in Education from Johns Hopkins University.

Monique S. Toussaint, Senior Advisor

Monique S. Toussaint manages the operational duties of the Initiative (i.e. strategic planning, project management, programming, etc.), coordinates the student volunteer intern program, and facilitates relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Her primary focus includes highlighting resources to  improve the programs, practices and policies enacted by the caring and concerned adults responsible for students’ development and to increase the participation of the African American community and institutions that serve the Black community in the Department’s programs and in education programs at other agencies.  A former Program Officer in the Parental Options and Information (POI) division of the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), this dynamic federal employee has provided technical assistance to the grantees of various programs. In addition to developing, implementing and evaluating programs, she administered multiple contracts; played a leadership role in the integration of a family engagement framework that informs the practices and policies of the Department; served as a Corporate Recruiter; and was a founding member of the Family and Community Engagement Strategy team.

Prior to joining the federal government, Monique held positions in the Leadership Development Division at the Institute of International Education; Sallie Mae’s Kids2College DC; American University’s Career Center; conducted her practicum at the Institute of College Preparation at Georgetown University’s Center for Multicultural Equity and Access; and participated in a two week Delegation on Business in China with the International Scholar Laureate Program.

Monique holds a M.A. in Education and Human Development from George Washington University and a B.S. in Business Administration from the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, DC. She enjoys helping others help themselves, served as a tutor with Horton’s Kids, is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Dupont Circle, and was an inaugural member and Professional Development Co-Chair of the YWCA’s newly established Young Women’s Leadership Council. Passionate about empowering others, she is a Group Coach for the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Leadership Development Program, Executive Coach for the Treasury Executive Institute, was an Adjunct Instructor for the Adult Basic Education program at Prince George’s Community College, received the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Service President’s Volunteer Service Award, and was recognized for Leadership in the 2017 Who’s Who Among Young Professionals by the National Urban League Young Professionals. She is a 2021 Alumni of the Excellence in Government Fellows Program with the Partnership for Public Service.

Ashley Johnson, Communications Specialist

Ashley Johnson currently serves as the Communications Specialist for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Success for Black Americans. Before transitioning to communications specialist, she served at the U.S. Department of Education for 4 years as a management and program analyst in the Executive Office in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. During her time in this office, she assisted in managing federal grants, and non-regulatory, regulatory, and legislative correspondence.

Prior to joining the federal government, Ashley worked in the public sector as a Marketing Director and has a combination of education and experience in providing communication support to start-ups founded by Black Americans. Additionally, she served in the public, charter, and private education sectors, specifically in urban communities and cities.

Ashley is a graduate of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and possesses a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, with a minor in Business Management from Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Chase Moore, Special Assistant

Chase Moore is a Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary and with the White House Initiative on Black Americans. Chase earned his Master’s in the Educational Policy and Planning Program at The University of Texas in May 2021. He played Football for The Texas Longhorns, became subject of a ESPN-Longhorn Network Feature Story, and received his Bachelors in Sociology in 2019. Chase joins the Biden-Harris Administration after being a 2022 CBCF Fellow for Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and in the Department’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. Prior to that position, Chase worked as a Staff Assistant for Senator Patty Murray in 2021 (D-WA), former Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. After growing up around Compton & South Central, Los Angeles, California, this LAUSD product’s goal is to dismantle the School-To-Prison Pipeline to ultimately shift paths for inner-city youth who grew up in impoverished environments from prison to college. Chase is also interested in helping Black student-athletes bolster holistic identities through the Black Student-Athlete Summit, performing spoken word on pertinent issues relevant to his community, engaging in global leadership and travel, and mentoring Black males.


Salome Daniel, Confidential Assistant

Salome Daniel is a recent graduate of Howard University’s School of Business. She has interned with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation where she assessed business processes, presented research, and drafted affordable housing policy. Most recently, she has served as a payroll specialist in the Newark Youth One Stop Career Center in New Jersey. There she engaged the city’s youth via casework correspondence and processed regular payroll.