Oct. 18, 2023 – The Board of Trustees of Davidson-Davie Community College has announced that three finalists have been selected in the search for the college’s next president. The search has been underway since Aug. 29 following the death of the college’s past president, Dr. Darrin Hartness, who served as president since 2019 and passed away in July of this year.
Dr. William P. Steed, chair of the Davidson-Davie Board of Trustees, appointed a search committee, which includes Kevin Firquin, chair of the Davidson-Davie Presidential Search Committee, as well as Donnie Holt, Cathi Smith and Ken White.
The committee gathered feedback from faculty, staff and students on the characteristics they felt were important in a future college president. In turn, that information was useful in aiding the search committee when reviewing candidates. Ultimately, the committee received more than 60 applicants. After careful consideration, the committee narrowed the field to three candidates.
“We had a great deal of extraordinary applicants who were eager to become part of our college community,” Steed says. “It speaks volumes to the reputation of the college and the tremendous growth we’ve seen here. Our community is ever evolving, and finding the right candidate is crucial in leading Davidson-Davie into the future.”
The finalists are Dr. Chad Breeden, Dr. Travis Reeves and Jenny Varner.
Dr. Chad Breeden serves as a senior analyst for Claxton Logistics Services, LLC. There, he supports the United States Naval Community College and its president and leadership team as they build a portfolio of relevant associate degrees and certificate programs. Breeden has had a long military career, commanding groups within Marine Air Control and the Marine Corps in Arizona, California, Virginia and Japan. He has educated the military sector in various capacities, including roles at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, where he led graduate courses on high-level national security strategies. Breeden also instructed courses and seminars at the United States Marine Corps Distance Education Program, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron, among others. He has served an active role in his college alumni community, including serving on the Board of Trustees at Heidelberg University in Ohio, and has also served in various roles in his church community.
Breeden graduated from the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Control, as well as the U.S. Army Command and General Staff. He earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Heidelberg College, a master of science in national resource strategy from the National Defense University, a master of public education from the University of Oklahoma, and also a doctor of education in community college leadership from Ferris State University.
Dr. Travis Reeves has served as superintendent of Surry County Schools since 2013. He has worked in the education sector in various roles, including superintendent for Ashe County Schools, as well as principal and assistant principal in five North Carolina schools. He led Eastern Guilford High School following a devastating fire that destroyed the school and implemented plans to instruct students in a Pod Village, then moved the entire body back into a new high school. Reeves has also been instrumental in safety upgrades for Surry County Schools that include mobile alert systems and additional school resource officers. He has been the recipient of multiple awards and recognitions. Most recently, he was honored as recipient of the 2023 North Carolina Association of Scholastic Activities Administrator of the Year. Reeves has also served on multiple educational advisory boards during his career.
Reeves graduated with a bachelor of science degree in history and social science with a secondary teaching license from Radford University, then earned a master of school administration from Gardner-Webb University. He continued his studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, earning an education specialist degree and a doctorate of education.
Jenny Varner has served as acting president of Davidson-Davie following the passing of Dr. Hartness. She previously served as vice president for External Affairs and executive director of the Foundation for the college, and has been a member of the president’s senior leadership team for the past 15 years. Prior to her roles at Davidson-Davie, Varner worked for the office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole, as well as the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in Washington, D.C. She has been actively engaged in the local community, serving on the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce for six years and holding multiple roles for First United Methodist Church in Lexington. Varner has also served in other various community leadership and fundraising roles, and is currently on the board of Family Services of Davidson County.
Varner graduated from Duke University with bachelor of arts and master’s degrees in public policy studies from the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy.
The three finalists will take part in additional steps during the interview process, including campus tours, meeting with the search committee for a formal interview and taking part in an open forum with faculty and staff. The candidates will each visit the college in late October.
“We truly look forward to meeting with these three finalists face-to-face in the coming weeks to not only get to know them better, but to gain an understanding of their vision for the college,” Firquin says. “These candidates have tremendous career experiences, and meeting with them helps us to learn more about their goals and hopes for Davidson-Davie.”
The search committee will present their recommendations to the Board of Trustees for approval. Following the board’s decision, the State Board of Community Colleges must review and confirm the decision.
A final announcement for the president is expected in late November.
Davidson-Davie Community College (www.DavidsonDavie.edu), which incorporated Davie County into its name in 2021, is a fully accredited, multi-campus college where students of all ages and backgrounds pursue academic and career-focused education in order to build successful futures. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, Davidson-Davie offers more than 40 degree and professional certificate programs, as well as affordable college-credit coursework to students who plan to transfer to four-year schools. With a mission to serve the changing needs of students competing in a global environment, Davidson-Davie is committed to quality education, innovative and equitable learning experiences, training, and support across a wide range of 21st-century career fields.
Director of Multimedia Strategies