Ronnie Holden in the Ring for District 8 School Board Seat

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By Linda Cicoira — Ronnie E. Holden will seek election to the District 8 seat on the Accomack County School Board in November. The retired University of Maryland Eastern Shore administrator has served on the board in an appointed position for about 28 years. This will be the first election for school board members since a referendum to change the way board members are selected was approved by voters nearly two years ago.

Holden is a native of the Shore and describes himself as a “product of the Accomack County Public School System.” He also got an associate degree in business administration from the Eastern Shore Community College, a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Virginia Tech, an MBA from Salisbury University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Maryland College Park.

He holds the vice chairman’s spot on the board but has also served as chairman several times. In a prepared statement, Holden said during his time on the board four elementary schools and two middle schools were built and two 1960s elementary schools were renovated. He also took credit for being instrumental in recommending that a division swim team be formed and that upgrades to several schools be made. “During his tenure, the academic and student service enhancements have been continually made to ensure the maximum support for all students and enabling the accreditation of all schools,” the statement said.

“My experience, education, and professional demeanor will continue to be an asset to the Accomack County School Board, and will continue to allow me to serve my community,” Holden said. 

Holden retired in 2014 after 37.5 years at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He started there as an accountant in charge of the Office of Student Accounts. He later served as budget analyst, acting comptroller/business manager, budget director, and assistant vice president for administrative affairs. He was appointed vice president for administrative affairs in 1986.  In this position, he said he was the chief financial officer, which managed a 140-plus million-dollar budget and provided oversight to 14 institutional departments. During his tenure at the university, he saw the school grow from having about 800 students to more than 4,500. He said he had a major role in the growth from less than 400,000 square feet to more than 1.9 million square feet. “Under his leadership, more than $700 million in capital construction projects were completed,” the statement continued. “The university was named the second most beautifully landscaped campus in America for two consecutive years in a row.”  

Holden is a former member of the Eastern Shore Community College Foundation Board, has an endowment scholarship at the community college and at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for local students. He served on the board of directors for the Village of Hope, a nonprofit shelter for women and children; the Executive Committee of the Business Council for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities; the Maryland State Chamber of Commerce; the National Association of College and University Business Officers; the National Association of College and University Auxiliary Services; and College and University Personnel Officers. He was an executive of Boy Scouts Troop 305, Cub Scout Pack 305, and Ventures 305.

He is the Sire Archon for Gamma Theta Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and a member of the Virginia School Board Association, Minority Leadership Round-Table, and Eastern Shore Men’s Outreach. He is also a member of Jerusalem Baptist Church, in Temperanceville, where he serves as a deacon and on several auxiliary services. 

Holden and his wife, Brenda, live in Onley. They have four adult children and manage a residential rental business.