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Leadership Team

Photo of Darrin Hartness

Dr. Darrin L. Hartness


Dr. Darrin L. Hartness has spent his entire career serving as an educator in North Carolina.  He became the fourth president of Davidson-Davie Community College in January 2019.

Prior to serving as college president, he spent 27 years in K-12 public education, most recently serving eleven years as superintendent of Davie County Schools and Mount Airy City Schools. His background also includes time spent as a teacher, principal, chief technology officer, assistant superintendent, and adjunct professor.

Dr. 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 technology and secondary education from Appalachian State University.

Hartness was the recipient of the The William and Ida Friday Medal for Educational Innovation in 2017.  He was also selected to be part of the 2019 Aspen Presidential Fellowship, a select group of community college leaders who are involved in an intensive, applied executive leadership program, delivered by The Aspen Institute in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative.

He and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 31 years and are the proud parents of two daughters, Madison and Molly.

Photo of Susan Burleson

Dr. Susan Burleson

Vice President, Davie Campuses and Institutional Effectiveness
Interim Vice President, Academic Programs and Services

Dr. Susan Burleson began her career at Davidson-Davie in August 2003 as Faculty, Psychology. She has also served the College as Department Chair, Social Sciences, and Associate Dean, General Studies & Academic Support.

Dr. Burleson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from N.C. State University, a Master of Arts in Psychology degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an Ed.D in Adult and Community College Education from N.C. State University.

She and her husband, Wade D. Burleson, Jr., live in Lexington with their three children Cameron, Lucas, and Emily.

Photo of Dr. Rhonda Coats

Dr. Rhonda Quash Coats

Vice President, Student Affairs

Dr. Rhonda Quash Coats joined the team at Davidson-Davie Community College as Vice President, Student Affairs in August 2015. Prior to that time Rhonda lived in Olympia, Washington and served as the Vice President for Student Services at South Puget Sound Community College. She has campus-based experience in admissions, recruitment, and financial aid with additional experience working at the state-level developing and interpreting rules and policies on issues relating to advising, athletics, childcare, counseling, disability support services, residency, student employment, student government, students of color and women's programs.

Dr. Coats earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Norfolk State University in Health and Physical Education, a Master of Education degree in Higher Education Administration from The Pennsylvania State University and a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in community college leadership from Oregon State University.

She currently lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband Ray. They have four children Victoria, Miles, Valerie, and Wesley.

Photo of Jenny Varner


Vice President, External Affairs and Executive Director, Davidson-Davie Foundation

Jenny Varner joined Davidson-Davie Community College in 2008.

As a Duke University senior, Varner co-founded a nonprofit organization with two classmates aimed at enhancing student leadership and campus life at colleges nationwide. This led to a job with NASPA, the student affairs professional network. Following graduate school, she joined the staff of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole, working on federal funding opportunities for constituents and traveling with the senator across North Carolina.

Varner earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Public Policy from Duke University.

She and her husband, Bren, live in Lexington and have two children, Jay and Andy.

Photo of Laura Yarbrough

Laura Lester Yarbrough

Vice President, Financial & Administrative Services

Laura Yarbrough joined Davidson-Davie Community College in 2003. She was previously the Dean of Financial & Administrative Services.

Yarbrough earned her Associate Degree in Applied Science from Davidson-Davie Community College and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science Degree from High Point University. She then earned her MBA from Liberty University. Prior to coming to Davidson-Davie, Yarbrough worked in various financial service roles at Cornerstone Health Care, P.A. in High Point before ultimately becoming the controller.

She and her husband, Sandy, live in Lexington.