Holly Durrence chosen to lead Evans Region College and Career Academy

Holly Durrence, who currently serves as Claxton High School’s graduation coach, has been chosen as Chief Executive Officer of the Evans Regional College and Career Academy.

The Evans County School system released the following press release following the Board of Education meeting held Monday night (Feb. 22, 2021):

Two years ago, the Evans County School System began implementing operational changes to become a charter school system.  The flexibility from state rules allows the district to customize the learning opportunities for all of its students.  The district sought to establish a college and career academy as well.  This concept works to align the coursework, graduation options, and pathways offered at Claxton High School with post-secondary educational institutions, regional businesses, and industries and the workforce development needs of the region.  The goal is to provide opportunities for all students to be able to complete high school with options to go to school or work locally within a 5-county region.

In collaboration with the Technical College System of Georgia and the late Senator Jack Hill and the Georgia Legislature, the Evans Region College and Career Academy was awarded $3,000,000 towards the construction of the new Claxton High School, which will house the ERCCA.  The district sought to establish an ERCCA Board of Directors which is comprised of local business, industry, and post-secondary educators.   This advisory group would work with a Chief Executive Officer to develop pathways, partnerships, curriculums, and opportunities to connect our students to regional workforce development needs. Their work would be provided in the forms of recommendations to the Evans County BOE for approval.

Members include:

Rosalind Ivey (South Georgia Bank), Chair, Tommy Lynn (Lynn Construction), Lanette Tippins (Southern Family Healthcare), Ryan Foley (OTC), Clay Garton (Valmount), Dawn Cartee (East Georgia College), Chris Gay (Evans-Claxton Chamber of Commerce/Food Fresh), Kristen Boylston (GSU), Keith Dixon (Jobs Training Unlimited), Mikell Fries (Claxton Poultry),  Richard Rentz (Coastal Plains Charter High School), and Kristy Vandenberg (Evans County Schools).

An interview panel including six members of the ERCCA Board interviewed applicants for the CEO position.  They unanimously selected Mrs. Durrence and recommended her to Dr. Waters, Superintendent of Schools.  Because she was a current employee of the district, Dr. Waters transferred her into the position after presenting her selection to the Evans County Board of Education on Monday, February 22, 2021.

Holly Durrence is a Claxton native and proud graduate of Claxton High School (Class of 1993).  Following her undergraduate studies in Middle Grades Education at Georgia Southern University, Durrence began her career in Evans County in 1996 where she taught English Language Arts and Social Studies. While teaching in Evans County, Durrence earned a Master of Education in Middle Grades Education, created the Claxton Middle School Advanced English Program, pursued her Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership, and participated in the Georgia Department of Education’s Leadership 21 Program.  In addition, she was named Claxton Middle School Teacher of the Year and WTOC Top Teacher.

In 2005, Durrence began working in Tattnall County, where she remained for ten years as an English Language Arts teacher at Glennville Middle School.  There she was received Glennville Middle School Teacher of the Year and Tattnall County’s STAR Teacher.

In 2015, Durrence returned home to work as instructional coach at Claxton High School.  She takes pride in the work that has been accomplished by the English Language Arts Department and in the revival of student involvement in our community.  In October of 2018, Durrence became Claxton High School’s graduation coach.  In this position, she has supported students and their families as students strive to finish high school and make important decisions about their futures.

Durrence lives in Evans County with her husband, Ken Durrence.  They have two sons, Wade and Walt Durrence.

“Mrs. Durrence has a strong desire to connect students with valuable post-secondary opportunities.  Her knowledge of the region, her passion for Evans County, and her knowledge and experience in working with graduation pathways makes her a valued member of the Evans County School System and an excellent choice in leading the ERCCA to transform education for our students,”  said Superintendent Dr. Marty Waters.

Mrs. Durrence will begin immediately transitioning to her new position.