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School leaders will be missed
With presidents of both state colleges in Glynn County leaving June 30, the community is looking for their successors to continue the gains made at both institutions.

Valerie Hepburn will leave College of Coastal Georgia to join the staff of the University System of Georgia, and then return to Glynn County in 2014 as executive director of Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation, a philanthropic foundation.

Lorette Hoover will leave Altamaha Technical College to become president of Columbus Technical College at Columbus.

"Both have been big supporters of our public schools, and we've worked together well," said Howard Mann, Glynn County schools superintendent.

"Their compassion will be sorely missed, but hopefully their replacements will have the same general philosophy of working with the school system and its programs to help (high school) students go onto campus at both places to get college credit."

Hepburn will be succeeded at College of Coastal Georgia by Gregory Aloia, president of Concord University at Athens, W.Va., and Hoover will be followed by Lonnie Roberts, vice president of institutional effectiveness at Altamaha Technical College, as an interim president.

Dave Smith, assistant director of the Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority, hopes the new college presidents will share their predecessors' visions of growth in the Golden Isles.

"(Hepburn and Hoover) have led the community in a lot of ways. The results under (Hepburn's) leadership are outstanding. Lorette Hoover (has) taken the rein of the technical college in the last couple of years and she's led the way to get expansion," Smith said.

"Both (colleges) have just grown tremendously and been great partners with the development authority."

Both colleges under the leadership of Hepburn and Hoover have partnered with many community organizations.

Dana Haza, president of United Way of Coastal Georgia, is sad to see both go but is thankful for what she has heard about the incoming presidents.

"We've had wonderful leadership in both Dr. Hepburn and Lorette. They've built these institutions. With incoming Dr. Aloia and the permanent incoming president at Altamaha Technical College, we're looking forward to leadership that builds on the foundation that both of these tremendous women have already established," Haza said.

Haza sees an opportunity when Hepburn joins Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation.

"I'm looking forward to the partnership. Both of our organizations represent investments in the Golden Isles, and I see it as a partnership leading our community with a philanthropic investment," Haza said.

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and local topics. Contact her at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.

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