Hartness new DCCC president

Published 9:08 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

Davie Schools Superintendent Dr. Darrin Hartness has been selected as the next president of Davidson County Community College.

The N.C. State Board of Community Colleges affirmed the local board’s decision during their September meeting. Hartness will be the fourth college president in the school’s 55-year history, succeeding Dr. Mary E. Rittling, who announced she would retire in December after 15 years.

Hartness has spent his career serving in North Carolina, including the past seven years as superintendent of Davie County Schools. He was an integral leader in the development of the new Davie County High School. In 2014, the Center for American Progress ranked Davie County Schools number two out of 115 NC school districts for the highest return on investment.

Hartness earned his doctoral degree in educational leadership and master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and instructional systems technology from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial arts and secondary education from Appalachian State University.

Much like his educational path, his career journey reflects a commitment to education.

Prior to his current role, Hartness worked as superintendent of Mount Airy City Schools and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Cleveland County Schools. His background also includes time spent as a teacher, principal, chief technology officer, and adjunct professor.  He and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 29 years and have two daughters, Madison and Molly.

“The ability to develop and implement best practices in educational excellence displayed by Dr. Hartness throughout his career, gives the board great confidence that he will carry forward the mission and vision of DCCC,” Board of Trustees Chair Ken White said. “There is much opportunity before us. Together we can build upon the foundation that’s been laid and continue to push the college into full reality of what it means to be an institution of higher education in the 21st century.”

Prior to drafting a position description, the board of trustees conducted several listening sessions with community leaders, faculty and staff in Davidson and Davie counties. Over 90 applicants applied for the position. Applicants were then narrowed to 11 semifinalists who participated in telephone interviews and provided additional application materials. The selection committee then invited four finalists to campus for personal interviews and to meet DCCC students, faculty and staff.

“We approached the task of selecting the next president of the college with seriousness and determination,” Committee Chair Beth Parrott said. “Every committee member brought a unique perspective and voice that helped shape a very holistic approach used to evaluate each candidate. We were impressed by the qualifications and enthusiasm displayed by Dr. Hartness. His previous track record of bridging academic excellence with economic opportunity and development aligns well with goals of the community college.”   

Hartness will start his new role at DCCC in January 2019. The college anticipates hosting community receptions after that time.

“Davidson County Community College has established a local and national reputation for using innovation and student-centered initiatives to meet the needs of not only students, but also the community it serves,” Hartness said. “I look forward to working alongside the board, faculty and staff to create a bright future for our students and their families, and to prepare the best workforce in the region.  We will work diligently together as the college continues to transform and expand to serve the next generation of learners and leaders.  I am excited and honored to serve as the next president.”