Ellen Darden's picture


Plaintext email only


NSBNews.net/VolusiaNews.net Column Name

Politics and Policies

Short Bio

Ellen Darden, an active Realtor, is immediate past president of the New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors. She and her husband, Frank, live in New Smyrna Beach. She is a former educator and a life-long student of and participant in public policy, governance and politics. The blog, "Politics and policies" (and its contents), is the sole copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, and cannot be reproduced, copied or published in whole or in part elsewhere without the prior expressed written permission of the publisher. NSBNews.net, VolusiaNews.net and HeadlineSurfer.com are owned by NSB News LLC. All three domains fall under the umbrella of Headline Surfer, a registered trademark.


Ellen Darden is a Realtor who served as the 2011 president of the New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors. She and husband Frank live in New Smyrna Beach. Darden earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of Florida, and is half-way to an MBA there. She began her professional life as a teacher of language arts, including a two-year stint at New Smyrna Beach High School in the early 1970s and later at the college level. At various times, she taught courses in composition, public speaking, journalism, drama and literature. Upon moving to Tallahassee, Darden left teaching and became a Realtor then broker-manager of a successful real estate firm.

In the mid-80’s, Darden was hired by the Leon County Schools as Public Information Officer. In this capacity she dealt with the news media, wrote or oversaw all publications, handled community relations, worked with the school board members, and served as a member of the Cabinet, directly reporting to the elected Superintendent. She was named chief of staff for a bond issue referendum to build new schools and repair existing schools. She developed and supervised the campaign to a win in a community who voters had turned down multiple past referenda. She was recruited to work for the James Madison Institute of Public Policy Studies, where she served as executive director for a state-wide campaign of school improvement. In this capacity, she helped craft and advocate for the passage of education reform legislation, organized community support groups and engaged in an active speaking and writing campaign throughout Florida. At the end of this campaign, she spent time as a private consultant, advising campaigns, advocating legislation in the Capitol on behalf of various clients, and providing marketing and public relations services to state associations.

In 1993, she was recruited as chief of staff of the Republican Party of Florida, where she served until 1995, enjoying her participation in the GOP state and national successes of 1994 elections. After additional years as a consultant representing various organizations and issues, she was recruited to serve as director of communications for the Duval County Public Schools at the request of an interim Superintendent. In addition to the communications duties, she served as associate staff director to the New Century Commission on Education, a school board-private citizen partnership established to study the local schools and make recommendations for improvements that would lead to the hiring of a permanent superintendent for the district. She then served as chief of staff for the subsequent superintendent search, working with a professional search firm and school board as they conducted a nationwide search. The new Superintendent asked her to form a foundation to raise private funds for major school improvement initiatives. This effort, which included the commitment and involvement of many community leaders in the Jacksonville area, raised millions of dollars for the establishment of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership. She was then asked by the board of directors of the new Center to join the staff, where she served as vice president for community relations and special Initiatives and was responsible for the award of a large grant to the Schultz Center for teacher training in technology.

Upon retiring from that position, she and Frank moved to New Smyrna Beach, where she joined the New Smyrna Beach Board of Realtors and quickly became active in Board leadership and involved in the community. She ran in the 2010 primary for the Volusia County Council Dist. 3 seat, finishing in the middle of the pack in the primary. Last year she announced her intention for the same post in the 2012 elections, but decided against it earlier this year.

Darden is active in local and state politics, a student of government and policy, a full-time Realtor and a proud mother and grandmother. She and Frank, married since 1969, are close to their two children: daughter Kathryn of Alpharetta, Georgia, who is married to baseball pitching great John Smoltz (Their large, combined family consists of one son and 5 daughters.) and son Mark, who lives and works in Minneapolis.

Darden writes her blog, "Politics and Polices," exclusively for NSBNews.net / Headline Surfer.


Member for
9 years 2 months