Rome City Schools Welcomes Superintendent Dr. Eric L. Holland
ROME, GA— “You always believed in me,” said Rome City Schools’ newly appointed superintendent, Dr. Eric Holland to RCS Board member Faith Collins, “and I love you dearly, and I will always be grateful.”
This emotional moment was one of many during a welcome reception for Holland held at the Rome City Schools College and Career Academy on September 15. Board members invited community leaders, school stakeholders, and faculty and staff out for a chance to not only congratulate Holland, but to get to know a man that has grown and leads with a new perspective.
After a brief introduction from Board Chair Jill Fisher, Holland addressed the crowd and offered them a narrative of key moments in his journey. However, he first celebrated the children of Rome High School by asking the Sound of the Seven Hills to play his favorite band tunes, the Rome High School show choir, Grand Finale, to entertain the crowd with song and dance, and the RHS Cheerleaders to perform a cheer that always gets him motivated.
Holland then gave a special thank you to his wife, Melissa Holland, and told a story of a relentless pursuit. “In 1999, I was a college athlete and a frat boy,” he said with a smile. “People kept talking about this girl who worked at Video Wearhouse. They all tried to get a date with her, but none of them succeeded. So, I gave it my best shot.”
The story continued with several rejections from Mrs. Holland until she finally recognized the determination Holland showed in his longing for one date. “We went out on a hot date. And thank God, Pastor,” he said while pointing to Rev. Carey Ingram who was in the crowd, “we have been together since then.”
He also recognized his children, EJ and Ayden, and other family members who support him.
Holland then talked about the start of his service at Rome City Schools and those people who were important in helping him to grow to be the leader he is today. While choking back tears of joy, Holland gave a special thank you to Faith Collins and Will Byington for their unwavering support of his abilities to lead. He also thanked local pastors for believing in him and supporting his vision for Rome High School while he served as principal from 2017-2021.
Organizations like the 100 Black Men of Northwest Georgia and the Rome City Commissioners were, according to Holland, vital to his rise to the position of Superintendent of Rome City Schools. However, he made it clear to reception attendees that there are others who paid the ultimate price so that he could stand on the shoulders of greatness.
“To our mayor, to our city police chief and to our city commissioners, I appreciate you helping us to make this community a great place to live and learn,” Holland said. “I say to people all the time that you do not get further in life without those who have paved the way and did the work. I received a text from Ms. Dillard. She is standing right there. She said she got arrested for 66 days for fighting, trying, hoping, and praying for a little country boy like me to get his named called. That text has meant the world to me,” Holland said with a quiver in his voice. “Ms. Dillard, I really appreciate you. Thanks so much for giving so much of yourself so that God could make me the beneficiary of your hard work. That text will never leave my phone.”
Others took the opportunity to speak on Dr. Holland’s behalf while enjoying food prepared by the students of the RHS culinary pathway. The night was one filled with memories and talks of things to come. With his philosophy of reimagining RCS, Holland hopes to build on the traditions of Rome City Schools and continue working towards the system’s mission.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Holland back to Rome City Schools,” said Fisher during her introduction. “And the Board is excited about the future of Rome City Schools.”