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PDE Special Advisor on Equity Named 2021 PA School Psychologist of the Year!

Special Assistant to the Secretary Dr. Nikole Hollins-Sims was recognized as the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania (ASPP) 2021 School Psychologist of the Year.


Dr. Hollins-Sims is an extraordinary school psychologist whose advocacy work impacts on social justice and equity across the Commonwealth and nationally. 


In the beginning of her career, Dr. Hollins-Sims worked as a school psychologist in the Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township School Districts. After 9 years of practicing as a school psychologist, Dr. Hollins-Sims emerged as a state-level leader in her role as an educational consultant for the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistant Network (PaTTAN) before becoming the Special Assistant to the Secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Throughout her career, Dr. Hollins-Sims has become a champion for positive behavior supports and enhancing equitable practices in school systems. Dr. Hollins-Sims has worked tirelessly to advocate for systems-level practices that enhance student outcomes, including multi-tiered systems of support and family engagement, with the goal of increasing graduation rates, decreasing drop-out rates, and improving school climate. Throughout all her professional endeavors, Dr. Hollins-Sims works to address systemic inequities in education.


In 2017, she helped develop the PA Equity Inclusion Toolkit to provide resources and strategies for schools in Pennsylvania to address bias and discrimination. Advancing her efforts to enhance social justice and equity, in 2020, Dr. Hollins-Sims established the Pennsylvania Department of Education‘s Equitable Practices Hub to provide easily accessible resources to school personnel to conduct an equity audit and subsequently action plan for enhanced equitable practices.  


Dr. Hollins-Sims is highly regarded throughout the Commonwealth and nationally as an expert and advocate for equity, inclusion, and belonging. Most recently, Dr. Hollins-Sims was awarded the inaugural Emerging Professional Award for Outstanding Commitment to Anti-Racism in School Psychology by Division 16 of the American Psychological Association. Throughout her work, Dr. Hollins-Sims has fought for access and opportunity for all students, and she is an outstanding model of the way in which school psychologists can position themselves to make a meaningful impact on children, families, schools, and communities.

Congratulations, Dr. Hollins-Sims!!

Explore the PDE Equitable Practices Hub.
Watch a recorded interview with Dr. Hollins-Sims.