Five with School of Education ties named in Madison365’s list of influential Black leaders

Two WCER honorees are among those five: Wei LAB's Shawn Anthony Robinson and MSAN Executive Director Latoya Holiday

January 9, 2024   |   By School of Education Communications

Honorees with SoE ties are, from left, Latoya Holiday, Dominique Ricks, Rodney Lynk, Martinez White, and Shawn Anthony Robinson.

Honorees with SoE ties are, from left, Latoya Holiday, Dominique Ricks, Rodney Lynk, Martinez White, and Shawn Anthony Robinson.

Madison365’s 2023 list of “Wisconsin’s 51 Most Influential Black Leaders” spotlights five individuals with ties to the UW–Madison School of Education.

Those featured are “elected leaders, business leaders, and community leaders, doing difficult, important work, often in the face of discrimination and literally generations of oppression,” according to Madison365’s CEO and publisher, Henry Sanders.

Of the leaders named in the five-part series, the following are staff, students, or alumni of the School of Education.

Latoya Holiday currently serves as the executive director of the Multicultural Student Achievement Network (MSAN) with the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research. MSAN is a national network of school districts working and learning together to eliminate racial disparities in schools. Holiday has also worked for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, One City Schools, two Wisconsin State Superintendents, and the Sun Prairie Board of Education. Holiday attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the UW–Madison earning degrees in English and educational policy.

Rodney Lynk Jr. is CEO of Milwaukee Excellence Charter School after four years as the school’s chief academic officer. Under Lynk’s direction, the 550-student school recently received a third consecutive five-star rating from the state Department of Public Instruction. He’s currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis with the School of Education, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree.

Dominique Ricks is the first Black principal at Kromrey Middle School in Middleton. He also served as dean of students at Glacier Creek Middle School, and taught 8th grade literacy in the Verona Area School District as well as middle school in his home state of Louisiana, where he was named his school’s Teacher of the Year in 2015. He earned his master’s degree from the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in 2018.

Shawn Anthony Robinson is a social entrepreneur, co-founder of the award-winning graphic novel “Doctor Dyslexia Dude,” and a research affiliate with the Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB) within UW–Madison’s School of Education. Robinson has won many awards, including “Educator of the Year” from All-State Insurance (Chicago) in 2005, the Wisconsin Innovation Award in 2022, and more.

Martinez White is a director of development for the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, where he works to cultivate support for UW–Madison’s School of Education. He spent several years before that working in finance at both UW Credit Union and Northwestern Mutual and is a 2010 alumnus of UW–Madison.

Learn more about “Wisconsin’s 51 Most Influential Black Leaders.”