William Holland » Biography


William Holland is a former Rhode Island Commissioner of Higher Education and a veteran public educator. A secondary teacher, school administrator, and a school superintendent in five school districts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for twenty-six years, he then spent the next eighteen years as a professor of educational leadership and department chair at Rhode Island College while at the same time serving as executive director of the Rhode Island Principals Association (RIASP).  As a full professor, he taught prospective Rhode Island teachers and superintendents who went on to leadership positions all over the country. He was appointed Commissioner in 1999 and after completing his term returned to his professor position at Rhode Island College where he retired as professor emeritus in 2005.
Dr. Holland has a unique breath of experience that ranges from the kindergarten classroom to the doctoral seminar. As Commissioner, he had responsibility for the first K-16 faculty academic dialogues between that focused on improving student preparation for college. He also oversaw a centralized five hundred million dollar higher education budget for the three state colleges and worked closely with college presidents and legislators in implementing a historic five hundred million capital project campaign on three campuses such as the Ryan Center, Boss Arena, and gaining approval of the new Newport campus of CCRI.  
As professor, he helped create and then taught in the new joint doctoral program in education between Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. As part time executive director, he established the first state office for principals (RIASP) at Rhode Island College, position he held for 10 years  
Active in professional organizations, Dr. Holland served as President of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), as president of the RI Superintendents Association and the Worcester County Superintendent Association. Additionally, he also chaired the National Association of Secondary School Principals Committee of College Professors, and the Teacher Mobility Advisory Committee for the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). As chair of the NEASC overseas schools committee for 15 years he chaired accreditation team visits and served as a consultant to 14 international schools in Europe and the Middle East.
The author of several professional articles, five books and presenter at numerous state, regional, and national conferences, Dr. Holland has a bachelor’s degree in history and education from the University of Rhode Island, a master’s in history from the University of Massachusetts, and doctorate in administration and supervision from Boston University.
In recent years he has served as an educational consultant with Strategic Innovations in Education, a consulting firm with offices in Florida and Maine. In 2006-2007 he served as a consultant and interim Superintendent of Schools in Central Falls, RI, a low income, underachieving urban district composed of over seventy percent Latino students. In 2015 he served as interim superintendent in Warwick, RI where he also conducted a search for a new superintendent while handling the other duties as full time superintendent.
Dr. Holland is the author of five books, the most notable being  “Selecting School Leaders – Guidelines for Making Tough Decisions” published in 2006 by Rowman and Littlefield and “A School in Trouble: A Personal Story of Central Falls High School” by Rowman and Littlefield published in 2010. His latest book, “Hope Realized” was published in 2015.
In recent years, Dr. Holland was a charter member of the committee and on the initial board of directors that formed the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) program at URI which now serves over 1000 senior citizens from surrounding communities. Additionally, he is on the advisory board of directors for SK Cares serving South Kingstown schools.
All three of his children were URI graduates. Currently, he and his wife Karen (URI 1960) reside in Wakefield, Rhode Island.