Ellen W. Reckhow, Commissioner


Ellen W. Reckhow, Commissioner
Phone: (919) 383-3883
E-mail: ereckhow@dconc.gov
Mailing Address:
11 Pine Top Place, Durham, NC 27705

Ellen Reckhow was elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 1988. She served as Chairman from 2002 – 2008 and as Vice Chairman, from 1994-2002 and 2008-2012.

Mrs. Reckhow serves as Co-Chair of the Durham Crime Cabinet and as Chair of the Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Public Safety Committee. She also serves on a number of local and regional boards and commissions including: the Triangle Transit Authority Board, the Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board, the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission, the Foreign Trade Zone Board, the Carolina Theatre Board, the Upper Neuse River Basin Association Board, and the Durham Arts Council Board.

At the state level, Mrs. Reckhow serves in several leadership positions of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), serving on the Strategic Planning Committee and the Public Safety and General Government Steering Committees. She also serves on the National Association of Counties (NACo) Transportation Steering Committee. Mrs. Reckhow helped found the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) and currently serves as Secretary of the EDCI Board. She tutors regularly in a first grade class at YE Smith Elementary School.

Ellen Reckhow received a B.A. Degree in Economics, Magna Cum Laude, from Boston University and a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University. She worked as a city planner for eight years in communities similar in size to Durham. 

She is the recipient of a number of local, regional and state awards: including the Goodmon Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership by an Elected Official, the North Carolina Planning Association Elected Official of the Year, the Sierra Club Environmental Leadership Award, an Eisenhower Fellowship, the Dorothy B. Graham Child Care Services Award, Kid’s Voting Champion of Democracy Award, National Community Education Association Citizen Leadership Award, Partnership for Children Champion for Children Award, and the Herald Sun Durham Grit Award.

She is married to Kenneth Reckhow, a professor emeritus in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. They have two children, who are both graduates of the Durham Public Schools, and two grandchildren.