Community leaders re-elected to top positions of Durham Tech Board of Trustees

Tara Fikes

John Burness

Longtime community leaders John F. Burness and Dr. Tara L. Fikes have been reelected as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the Durham Technical Community College Board of Trustees.

The two were first elected to their posts in the fall of 2017 for the 2017-18 academic year.

Burness, a former Vice Chair, has served on the board since 2009, when he was appointed by the Durham Public Schools Board of Education. He is the retired senior vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke University and an adjunct professor in the Dewitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Fikes, retired director of Housing, Human Rights, and Community Development for Orange County, was first appointed to the board by the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 2013 and then reappointed in 2015. In addition to being vice chair, she also chairs the Policies and Personnel Committee.

“The Board of Trustees will continue to benefit from the leadership of John Burness and Dr. Tara Fikes as they both return to their posts as Chair and Vice Chair. The Trustees are valuable and vital to the operations of the College, and we look forward to the upcoming year,” said Dr. Bill Ingram, President of Durham Tech.

Burness has demonstrated his commitment to education through numerous roles. His previous positions include founding chair of the board of directors of the Durham Communities in Schools dropout prevention program; director of the Durham Public Education Network; and interim president of Franklin and Marshall College, his alma mater, from 2010-11. He also has worked at Cornell University, University of Illinois, and Stony Brook University, headed the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership, and is on the board of Private College 529.

Fikes works as an adjunct instructor in the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill. She has chaired the Durham County Social Services Board and has been on the board of the North Carolina Social Services Board Association. She got her Master of Public Affairs from N.C. State and her Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

The Board of Trustees consists of 14 voting members and governs Durham Tech. Members are appointed by the North Carolina Governor, Durham County Board of Commissioners, Durham Public Schools Board of Education, and the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

The Trustees serve four-year terms and set local policy for the College. A representative of the Durham Tech Student Government Association serves as a non-voting trustee.