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Leadership Team

Dr. 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 William and Ida Friday Medal for Educational Innovation in 2017.  He was also 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. In 2022, Hartness was elected by his peers to serve on the Executive Committee as Secretary of the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents.

He and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 33 years and are the proud parents of two daughters, Madison and Molly.  Like their parents, both daughters have established their own careers in education.  Madison is an Assistant Director of Academic and Career Coaching in the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte, and Molly is a 6th grade teacher at Greensboro Academy.

Photo of Susan Burleson

Dr. Susan Burleson

Executive Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs

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 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.