Dr. Holland grew up in Mississippi—Booneville, to be precise. She spent her adolescent years at Jumpertown, where she met a teacher who inspired her and her journey. Dr. Holland said, “I was the valedictorian, and I had grown to love English—because of Carolyn Green, the teacher who taught all the grades, 7-12. She was tough, she was strict, she ruled with an iron hand.” She went on to Northeast and Mississippi State to pursue her goal of teaching students to love language, reading, and learning.
After her husband returned from war, they moved around as she continued to try to be the teacher she strove to be. They moved several times, and she struggled to hold onto the idea of being the same teacher as Mrs. Green had been. After they came back to Mississippi, she went into graduate school to become a Doctor of Philosophy in English. The family ended up moving to Columbus a little after she started, and Dr. Holland worried she wouldn’t be able to finish her degree. She ended up teaching gifted kindergarten and first grade students until she found the Ph.D. program in Tuscaloosa. She started working part time teaching gifted children and then accepted a Junior-level English position at Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science for fifteen years. She wanted to make sure she knew were she came from, saying, “I still give most of the credit to Mrs. Green from back in high school. In fact, I wrote her a letter to tell her that I had never had a teacher anywhere that measured up to her.”
She eventually came to Blue Mountain in 2006 under Dr. Betty Coward, and she taught freshman classes and a few other writing classes. She felt the years and students were wonderful, and she eventually retired for the first time in 2013 to care for and spend time with her husband. After his passing, she was able to come back and teach part time thanks to Dr. Enzor, and then accepted a full time position in the fall of 2020. Though she struggled under the technology requirements, she hopes that “every now and then there is that one student in my class that will grow to love reading, writing, thinking, and learning, as I did many years ago in that classroom at Jumpertown School. What I love most about BMC: the people are so helpful and supportive of each other.”
She says that her take on religion is that the red letters are the most important, and that the Sermon on the Mountain matters most. The Beatitudes are her favorite: “The one I most emphasize on a daily basis is ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ The word ‘Peace’ has become my most frequent comment on Facebook, and most of my correspondence ends with the word ‘Peace.’ Not from the Bible, but from the prayer of St. Francis, is another favorite thought: ‘Make me an instrument of thy Peace.’” She hopes that everyone can make the world a little nicer and kinder, and she hopes to contribute to it.