Since July 1, 2011, Dr. Hartness has served as the superintendent of Davie County Schools, and brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the superintendency. Over the past 27 as an educator in North Carolina Schools, Dr. Hartness has served as a high school teacher in Rowan-Salisbury Schools, an elementary principal in Cleveland County Schools, and has held leadership positions in technology at the central office level for Stanly County Schools and Cleveland County Schools. Before serving as superintendent in Mount Airy City Schools, he was assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Cleveland County Schools. Dr. Hartness was part of the first class of North Carolina Teaching Fellows, and the first Teaching Fellow to serve as a North Carolina superintendent.
Hartness models leadership characterized by open, honest communication and high expectations that lead to academic success. In 2012, he organized a comprehensive strategic planning process, resulting in a vision that Davie County Schools will be the national model in creating educational excellence through innovative and personalized experiences. He has also led the district through a lengthy facilities assessment process, gathering feedback and perceptions from across the community related to future educational facility needs. In 2014, the citizens of Davie County approved a $54.5 million school bond to build a new high school. For over 12 years leading up to 2014, the issue had been debated, had divided the community, and two previous school bonds in 2003 and 2007 failed. The inclusion of hundreds of citizens in the planning process, effective communications, and a grassroots effort led by the community resulted in the passage of the bond and a new positive direction for Davie County. The new Davie County High School opening its doors to students on August 28, 2017 and is a model comprehensive high school in North Carolina.
During his tenure, Dr. Hartness has been a strong advocate for public education and funding the needs of both teachers and students. He is proud to be part of an organization that shares core values and beliefs that include respect, dedication, commitment, teamwork, collaboration, relationships, integrity, and high expectations. Davie County Schools is ranked as one of the top performing districts in North Carolina, and academic performance measures indicate that students are continuing to innovate, achieve, and excel.
An award-winning educator, Dr. Hartness is a 2017 recipient of The Friday Medal from the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University. This award is in recognition of distinguished and enduring contributions to education and beyond through advocating innovation, advancing education and imparting inspiration. Hartness was named 2015 Regional Superintendent of the Year by the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium. He was chosen by his peers to receive this same award in 2013 and moved on to be one of three finalists for the A. Craig Phillips Superintendent of the Year state award. In 2014-15, Hartness was selected by his colleagues as Administrator of the Year in Davie County Schools. Dr. Hartness was chosen as the 2015 Citizen of the Year by the Mocksville Woman’s Club. In 2014, he received the E.C. Tatum Humanitarian Award from the Davie County Chamber of Commerce and considers this award of one of the most rewarding of his career. In 2009, he was recognized as Outstanding Young Educator of the Year, by the North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, in recognition of his exemplary commitment and exceptional contributions to the education profession. Among other honors and recognitions, he received the Apple Distinguished Educator award and was named the North Carolina Technology Educator of the Year in 1997.
In addition to being recognized for numerous awards, he serves at the regional and state levels. He has been appointed to the North Carolina eLearning Commission by two governors: by Governor Beverly Perdue in 2010, and again by Governor Pat McCrory in 2014. In 2015, Dr. Hartness completed a two-year term as Chairman of the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium, a collaboration of sixteen K-12 public school districts and seventeen higher education institutions in central North Carolina. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Association of School Superintendents and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
In addition to his responsibilities as an educator, he has served as an adjunct professor at UNC Charlotte, a technology consultant, and a consultant in education research and development. As a community leader, he is a Rotarian and serves on the Board of Directors of Smart Start and the DragonFly House Children’s Advocacy Center. He was elected as a Deacon at First Baptist Church Mocksville in 2014 and served as a musician in the praise band.
Dr. Hartness earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction/Instructional Systems Technology from UNC-Charlotte. He also holds a B.S. in Technology/Secondary Education from Appalachian State University.
Dr. Hartness and his wife Lisa are the proud parents of two daughters, Madison and Molly. Lisa is a graduate of Davie County Schools. In his spare time, Dr. Hartness enjoys spending time with his family, travel, woodworking, and golf.
“I am tremendously honored to serve Davie County Schools as superintendent,” Dr. Hartness said. “I treasure the time I spend with students, staff, parents, and community members, listening to their ideas and perspectives, and sharing our vision for the future of public education in Davie County. Davie County Schools has a track record of excellence, and my goal is to support teachers and staff to provide a first class education for all of the children we serve. Together we will continue to work to ensure Davie County Schools is the best school district in NC and a leader in the nation; our children deserve it!”