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Donna Rewalt Named Cooperative Extension Director

Post Date:02/25/2019 8:03 PM

Durham, NC Donna Rewalt has been named director of the Durham County Cooperative Extension. She succeeds former director Morris White who now serves as Eastern Regional Extension Director. Rewalt assumes her new role following Dr. Deborah Crandall serving as Durham’s interim extension director since October 2018 when White announced his new position based at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Rewalt has held various positions of impact during her 14 years working for Durham County Cooperative Extension. She joined Durham County in 2005 as a program coordinator creating the innovative Parent Advocacy and Leadership Training Program, providing coaching and mentoring services to parents and families on school issues varying from special needs education to graduation. In 2007, she was promoted to outreach coordinator and formerly served as interim director of the Welcome Baby Program in 2017. As outreach coordinator, her responsibilities have ranged form managing budgets, writing grants, and producing financial and evaluation reports to designing and evaluating urban extension programs serving diverse communities.

“Coming from within she understands our systems and possesses the ability to hit the ground running,” said County Manager Wendell M. Davis.

In addition to directing community development programming, she is an experienced trainer and facilitator in a variety of areas, including strategic planning, communication, team building, advocacy, and leadership, including Parent and Family Advocacy and Support Training and Parents as Leaders. Rewalt is a certified facilitator in the Myers Briggs and Real Colors personality instruments along with Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. 

As director, Rewalt will provide leadership for and coordinate the efforts of the Durham County Extension staff in developing an effective total County Extension educational program. She will also provide leadership and expertise in managing and coordinating resource development for all program areas, which includes fiscal responsibility for the county- and state-appropriated funds as well as allocated funds.

According to General Manager Gayle Harris, Rewalt’s extensive history with Durham’s Extension will be an asset to the department in her new role. “Donna has used her skills to advance the work of Durham’s Extension for many years now,” Harris said. “She is knowledgeable of the ins and outs of Extension which will serve her well as director. We are grateful for her talent and that we were able to promote from within to fill this critical role in this department.”   

In addition to Rewalt’s administrative work, she has maintained an active interest in advocacy and community giving to improve the life of others. She co-chairs the Durham Public Schools’ Superintendent’s Closing the Achievement Gap Task Force, serves as team member for the Durham System of Care, the Durham Partnership for Children as well as Kids Voting Durham. 

When asked about her position as director, Rewalt stated, “I’m excited and proud to lead Durham County Cooperative Extension. I love Durham and I believe in what Cooperative Extension does for our community, connecting the research-based information of our land grant universities to serve the needs of our Durham residents through this innovative local-state partnership. Extension is rooted in the community and I am honored to build on the rich history of Cooperative Extension’s work in Durham County.”

Rewalt earned a Bachelor Arts in Communications from Wake Forest University and a Master of Arts in Communications from the University of Georgia. She is a graduate of Leadership Durham and North Carolina State University’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute.  She previously worked with the Durham Public Education Network as Community Engagement Director where she coordinated an Annenberg Foundation grant in community engagement.  Donna has taught college courses in communication and worked in community and public relations and fundraising at colleges and nonprofit organizations. 

“Donna Rewalt has all of the qualities of an effective county director including her leadership and facilitation skills, empathy for her staff, vision, innovative thinking and connections with partners in the community,” said North Central District Extension Director Susan Kelly. “She could be a great director anywhere and will be a wonderful addition to our North Central Administration Team.”

Durham County Extension is one of 100 North Carolina Cooperative Extensions, a strategic partnership of North Carolina State and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State universities, along with county governments and the United States Department of Agriculture. According to North Carolina Cooperative Extension, these partnerships serve as a bridge between the campuses and local communities, delivering research-based education, tools and technology for all North Carolinians.

Rewalt will begin her position as director on Friday, March 1, 2019. “Our Durham County team is a remarkable group dedicated to meeting the needs of our youth, families, farmers, and others who look to Extension to develop collaborative solutions. I look forward to supporting their work to make a difference in the lives of the people of Durham County,” said Rewalt.

For more information about this announcement, call (919) 560-0000 or email publicinformationoffice@dconc.gov.

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