I began working for the Henry & Rilla White Youth Foundation, Inc., as your new CEO, just after fourteen (14) days of retirement from the School Board of Levy County. I am married to Robert Durrance, Sr., and have two adult children, Jennifer and Robert, Jr. I am also blessed with a six (6) year old granddaughter, Riley.
I have more than 30 years of experience in the educational setting, but am not willing to share the exact number. I am a graduate of Bronson High School, completed my AA degree from what was formerly Central Florida Community College, completed my BS degree from the University of Florida (Go Gators!), and completed my MS degree from Nova University in Administration and Supervision.
I began my teaching career by teaching 3rd and 4th grades in Levy County and within several years was given the opportunity to serve as the principal of Bronson Elementary, a high poverty rate school. At that time, Bronson Elementary was home for a district wide Exceptional Education Center which received recognition as an “Improving High Poverty School”. It was also very rewarding for me to receive recognition from UF as an “Outstanding Educator”.
Prior to retiring, I worked at the district level and was responsible for writing Federal grants including Title I, II, VI, and Race to the Top. My responsibilities included budgeting, oversight and implementation of these grants. Ensuring fidelity of use of programs and providing ongoing training were also part of my responsibilities. In addition, I monitored and ensured compliance with all Federal requirements for each grant in 15 schools, including charter and private schools. Most recently, one of the highlights of working at the district level was having Chiefland Middle School recognized as an “Exceeding Expectations Title I School”.
I share this information to let you know that accomplishing team goals and making a difference is a big part of who I am. I am excited about the possibility that we can change the dreadful statistics on the number of people incarcerated in America. ( I heard recently that nearly 25% more Americans are incarcerated than in the entire world combined). There are also millions of our unspent federal tax dollars that are budgeted to feed America’s children. I am excited that we have the potential to provide the National School Lunch Program to children who quality, but are not currently being reached. Additionally, I know that we can also improve the quality of life for the mentally challenged adults through the expansion of our day treatment services.
I have a long history with the Henry and Rilla White Youth Foundation, Inc. I have served as Secretary to the Board of Directors for many years. The culture of the Foundation is so caring and welcoming that I feel as though I have always worked here. The Tallahassee team has allowed me to “jump in, head first” by introducing me to an ITN (Invitation to Negotiate) from DJJ and CARF accreditation -
I have had the pleasure of meeting with MST in Circuit 8 and observing the professionalism they display in working with our clients and families. Their cohesiveness and mutual support is evident. We appreciate Montia Morris’ leadership and Jill Downey’s commitment in her responsibilities for clinical supervision.
I have met with the staff at Lake City and see that they are clearly devoted to their clients and adding volumes to the quality of their lives.
I look forward to visiting the Panhandle and anticipate that I will also find excellence and dedication there.
I look forward to meeting each of you, to being part of a high performance team, and seeing the Foundation make a difference.
Linda Durrance, CEO