Nicholas Brake, Ph.D.
1829 Stratford Dr. • ¬óOwensboro, KY 42301
270-302-7888 • ¬ó 

Curriculum Vitae


Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration and Policy
The University of Louisville, 2003

Rank I Education Administration Certifications: Supervisor of Instruction, Superintendent
Western Kentucky University, 1998 

Master of Arts, History
Western Kentucky University, 1997

Bachelor of Arts, History, Secondary Education; Minors: Political Science, Journalism
Northern Kentucky University, 1991



Leadership Institute for Superintendents
Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, 2014

Master Practitioner Certificate
Rutgers University, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, 2011


Owensboro Public Schools
Superintendent, 2013- present
The 19th superintendent of the largest independent district in Kentucky, which enrolls 5,100 students in preschool through 12th grade at 10 school sites employing a staff of 800 and an annual budget of $60 million.  In 2014, OPS was named one of seven Districts of Innovation in Kentucky.

Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation
President/CEO, 2006-2013
CEO of regional development agency in a labor market region of 400,000, provided the strategy and implementation framework to transform a stagnant region with a declining manufacturing base into a region alive with new development and recognized for progress in the area of innovation, technology-based economic activity, and placemaking, reported to a 35-member board of directors that included Mayor, County Executive, and CEOs of the region’s largest employers. 

Owensboro Community and Technical College              
Vice President/Dean. 2003- 2006
Served as chief officer for all institutional research and effectiveness for the college; co-directed all strategic planning activities, supervised 45 faculty members.  Reported directly to the college president, served on the President’s Leadership Team, Chief Administrative Officer of the college’s Downtown and Southeastern campuses.  Served as administrator for all 1,100 high school students enrolled at the college.

Owensboro Technical College
Chief Administrative Officer, Vocational High School Dean/Principal, 2002-2003
Served as Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Academic Officer of technical programs offered by the college through consolidation with the community college.  Supervised all 45 faculty members and managed two campuses.  Served as principal of the on-campus vocational high school with an enrollment of 200.

Daviess County Public Schools
Director of Curriculum, Research, and Assessment, 1998-2002
Served as District Assessment Coordinator, consultant to instructional directors, conducted educational research relating to increasing student achievement, and served as the district curriculum development director for the 10,000-student district. Duties included serving as the district’s representative for Kentucky’s accountability and assessment implementation and strategy.

Daviess County High School
Dean, Liberal Arts Academy, 1996-1998
Served as an instructional supervisor for 37 faculty in the social studies, English and foreign language departments at this 1,500-student comprehensive high school



Western Kentucky University, Department of Educational Leadership and Research
Adjunct Professor of Educational Administration, 2004-2013
Courses taught: Educational Research, Seminar in Educational Administration, Introduction to School Leadership, and Leveraging Community Systems and Resources

Western Kentucky University, Department of Political Science
Adjunct Professor of Government & Public Administration, 2011-2013
Courses taught: PS 549 Problems in Public Administration, PS 311 Public Policy

Owensboro Community and Technical College, Division of Social Sciences
Associate Professor of History, 2003-2006
Courses taught: Western Civilization I, II, and Integrated Humanities

Western Kentucky University, Potter College of Humanities
Adjunct Professor of History, 2004-2006
Courses taught: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome

Brescia University, Department of History
Adjunct Professor of History, 1995-96
Courses taught: World Civilization I, II

Daviess County High School, Liberal Arts Academy
Secondary School Teacher, 1991-1998; Head Boys Soccer Coach, 1991-1994
Courses taught: AP European History, AP American Government, AP Comparative Government, Economics, US History, and World Civilization



Brake, N. (2003).  Predictors of student success in dual credit programs.  Submitted to the University of Louisville in partial fulfillment of a Ph.D.




Welsh, J., Choi, N., & Brake, N. (2005) Student participation and performance in dual credit courses in a reform environment.  Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 29(3), 199-213.


Papers Presented at Refereed Conference Proceedings


Brake, N. (2000, November). Student course-taking delivered through a high school block schedule: The relationship between the academic core and student achievement.  Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Bowling Green, KY.


Brake, N., Davis, M. & Ashley, P. (2000, November).  Fostering reading and language skills in youngchildren: A statistical analysis.  Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Bowling Green, KY.


Research Projects and Technical Reports


Brake, N. (2011).  An economic impact of agriculture in the Owensboro MSA.  Published report of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, Owensboro, KY.


Brake, N. (2010).  Economic performance of Owensboro and peer regions, 2000-2010.  Published report of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, Owensboro, KY.


Brake, N. (2010).  Community-driven globally competitive high schools: Creating a workforce for the 21st Century in the Greater Owensboro region.  Published report of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, Owensboro, KY.


Brake, N. (2009). An economic impact of health care in the Greater Owensboro region.  Published report of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, Owensboro, KY.


Brake, N., Gesser, C. & Beardmore, K. (2005).  Owensboro Community and Technical College application for institutional accreditation.  Unpublished report of the Owensboro Community and Technical College submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Brake, N.  (2004). Evaluation of student performance in the dual credit courses of the Discover College program at Owensboro Community and Technical College.  Unpublished report of the Office of Institutional Research at Owensboro Community and Technical College.


Presentations at National Conference Proceedings


Cook, D., Brake, N. & Hamby, T. (2015, February).  Policy solutions from the Kentucky district of innovation program.  Council of State Governments, Education Policy Academy, Orlando, FL.


Brake, N. (April 2008).  Workforce development as economic development.  Kentucky Association of Economic Development, Henderson, KY.


Addington, J. & Brake, N. (2004, April). Discover college as model for dual credit programs, American Association of Community Colleges, Minneapolis, MN.


Brake, N. (2002, June). Building community partnerships with dual credit programs.  National High Schools That Work Conference, Louisville, KY.


Brake, N.  (2002, October).  Discovering success through Discover College.  National Tech Prep Conference, Cincinnati, OH.


Brake, N.  & Keller, G. (1996, July). School within a school academy model at Daviess County (KY) High School.  Southern Regional Education Board, Atlanta, GA.


Newspaper Op/Ed Articles


Brake, N. (January 19, 2010). Globally competitive high schools key for our future. Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.


Brake, N.  (December 12, 2007).  Stay the course with higher education reform.  Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.


Brake, N (December 17, 2006). A new economic development strategy for Owensboro.  Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.




District of Innovation, Owensboro Public Schools, 2014

Owensboro Public Schools designated by the Kentucky Department of Education as one of seven Districts of Innovation in the Commonwealth.  The status gives the district the freedom to redesign student learning in an effort to engage and motivate more students for college and career readiness.


Owensboro Innovation Academy, 2013-present

Conceptualized and founded a STEM-based charter school that uses project-based learning to better engage and motivate students for college and career readiness.  The school is affiliated with the national New Tech Network and co-located in Owensboro’s business incubator, the Centre for Business and Research.


Owensboro Public Schools – School Leadership Cohort, 2015

Developed along with Western Kentucky University College of Education, Department of Educational Administration, a cohort of faculty and staff in the school district to develop as aspiring administrators and school leaders.  Taught three graduate courses in educational administration to prepare for certificate and create a pipeline of home grown leaders in the Owensboro Public Schools.


Leadership Owensboro Emerge Program, 2006-present

Served as Chair and Lead Faculty Member for the community leadership development program.  Developed the program curriculum, teach leadership theory, and provide mentoring to the annual class of 30 aspiring community leaders.


Downtown Owensboro Placemaking Initiative, 2008-2013

Initiated and lead an urban planning and “place making” strategy promoting downtown revitalization and “walkable” urban development in Owensboro. The strategy has resulted a public-private partnership with $120 million in federal and local funds dedicated for downtown development.  The effort has generated over $100 million in private investment in downtown in three years.


Owensboro Life Science Strategy, 2006

Developed a technology-based economic development strategy focusing on plant-based biotechnology, cancer therapeutics, and food science by attracting research programs. Owensboro named one of America's Next Silicon Valleys by Business Insider Magazine and a Top Southern Location for Technology Based Economic Development by Southern Growth and Development.


Centre for Business and Research, 2010-2013

Developed a 40,000 square foot business accelerator- incubator with wet labs for science-based companies and universities to commercialize research. The CBR leases space to nine companies, and two university applied research centers.


Community Campus Program, 2011-present

Conceptualized and helped implement the Community Campus program, which created six workforce-oriented secondary-to-postsecondary academies among six partner high schools in two counties. 


Western Kentucky University-Owensboro Campus, 2007

Developed a Memorandum of Agreement with Western Kentucky University, which brokered an expansion of public higher education and new degree programs aligned to economic development in Owensboro with a new $25 million campus.


Discover College Program, 2000-2006

Created and implemented the Discover College program, which dually enrolled 1,300 high school students in the college, more than any other college in Kentucky. The program served as a statewide model for improving college readiness and the college-going rate. 


Collegiate High School, 2004-2006

Served as principal of Collegiate High School, a middle college high school at the Owensboro Community and Technical College, the recipient of Kentucky’s first grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


P-16 Regional Alliance for Education, 1998-present

Over a decade of experience in working with P-16 educational partnerships, coordinate efforts with P-12 and postsecondary education leaders on a comprehensive education attainment and workforce development strategy for the region, which included the region being named Kentucky’s first “Work Ready Community.”


Owensboro Community and Technical College Reaccreditation, 2004-2005

Directed all accreditation activities for the college’s reaffirmation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  OCTC earned reaccreditation in 2005 with no recommendations.


Consolidation of Owensboro Community College with Owensboro Technical College, 2002-03

Served as Chief Administrative Officer for the technical college during the consolidation with the community college, and Chief Academic Officer of technical programs offered by the college. Lead the seamless transition of technical programs to the collegiate model during the consolidation with the Owensboro Community College.


Daviess County High School, State and National Blue Ribbon High School, 1997-2000

Chaired the committee and authored the application for which Daviess County High School was awarded a Kentucky and National Blue Ribbon status by the Kentucky Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.





Statewide Service


Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Board of Directors, 2015

Kentucky Workforce Investment Board, WIOA Re-designation Steering Committee, 2015

Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Legislative Insider, 2013-present

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, State Incentive Reform Task Force, 2009

Kentucky United, Economic Development Business Recruitment Team, 2009-2013

Kentucky BioAlliance, 2008-2013

Junior Achievement of Western Kentucky, Board of Directors, 2006-present

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Task Force on Access to Higher Education, 2007

Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Statewide Taskforce for Dual Credit, 2005

Kentucky Department of Education Refocusing Secondary Education Task Force, 2003- 2005

Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, High School Reform Task Force, 2004-2005


Community Service


Western Kentucky University—Owensboro Board, 2008- present

Regional Alliance for Education P-16 Council, 1998- present; Chair, 2001-2002, 2014-present

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Member, 2004-present

Owensboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, Transportation Committee, 2006-2013

Workforce Investment Board, 2006-present

Green River Economic Development Council, 2006-2013

Owensboro Public Art Commission, 2006- 2013

City of Owensboro Strategic Planning Task Force, 2007

Rotary Club, 2006-2010, and 2014 to the present

Kiwanis Club, 1998-2002

World Affairs Council, 2004-2010

Community Conversations for Deliberative Democracy, 1999-2003; Chair, 2002-2003

Leadership Owensboro Emerge Program, Faculty Member, 2006-2013

Leadership Owensboro, Chair, 2006-07

Leadership Owensboro, Class of 2000

Museum of Science and History Board of Directors, 1999-2000

Wendell Ford Government Education Center, 1998-1999

Daviess County High School, Site Based Decision Making Council, Vice Chair 1996-1998

Daviess County Public Schools, District-wide Curriculum Committee Chair, 1999-2000


Grant Funding


Owensboro Innovation Academy- New Tech Network School Development Grant.  Public Life Foundation of Owensboro (2014-2017).  Project Supervisor, $450,000


Avoiding the Summer Slide through Summer Reading Intervention Camps Grant. Public Life Foundation of Owensboro (2014-2016). Project Supervisor, $220,000


Regional Workforce Investment Grant, Building an Advanced Manufacturing Workforce.  Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (2012-13).  Project Supervisor,  $62,000.


P-16 Maintaining Capacity Grant for Regional Alliance P-16 Council.  Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (2001).  Project Supervisor, $25,000.


Collegiate High School National Middle College Grant.  Middle College National Consortium through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2005-2006). Project Supervisor, $128,000.


Discover College Mentoring Program.  Green River Workforce Investment Board (2000-2003).  Project supervisor, $303,000.


Kentucky High School Reform Grant for Discover College Middle College Program.  Kentucky Department of Education (2002). Project Director,  $60,000.


Kentucky School-to-Career Grant for Regional Alliance for Education.  Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet (2002). Project Co-Director,  $54,500.


Kentucky School-to-Career Grant for Regional Alliance for Education.  Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet (2001),  Project Co-Director, $61,300.


Kentucky School-to-Career Building Capacity Grant for Discover College Program Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet (2000).  Project Co-Director, $64,500.


P-16 Building Capacity Grant for Regional Alliance P-16 Council.  Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (2001).  Project Co-Director, $10,000.


Awards and Honors

Owensboro Public Schools, National School Board Association Magna Award, Honorable Mention, 2015

Owensboro Public Schools, District of Distinction, District Administration Magazine, 2015

Owensboro Public Schools, District of Innovation, 2014

Western Kentucky University-Owensboro Commencement Address, 2012

Kentucky Association for Economic Development, PEAK Award- workforce development programs, 2002

Northern Kentucky Soccer Hall of Fame, 2002

Nominee, Kentucky Outstanding Leader for the New Century, 2000

Twenty Leaders Under Forty, Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 2000

Daviess County High School Yearbook Dedication for Outstanding Teacher, 1997

Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, 1990-1997




Council of State Governments, 2015

Education Policy Academy, Orlando, FL


University of Chicago, Urban Education Institute, 2015

Critical Issues in Urban Education, Graduate Course


Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 2014

Ontario Study Abroad Program, Professors Kenneth Leithwood and Michael Fullan


John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University- HarvardX, 2014

History and Politics of U.S. Education, Professor Paul Peterson, Massive Open Online Course


Harvard Graduate School of Education- HarvardX, 2014

Leaders of Learning, Professor Richard Elmore, Massive Open Online Course


Duke University- Coursera, 2103

History and Future of Education, Massive Open Online Course


Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2014

Askwith Forum on the Common Core State Standards


International Economic Development Council, 2012

Real Estate Development and Reuse Course, Washington D.C.


University of Miami (FL) College of Architecture, 2009

Graduate-level course in Principals and Practices in New Urbanism, Miami, FL


University of Illinois, Council for Community and Economic Research, 2008

Economic Impact, Fiscal Impact, and Economic Base Analysis Course, Chicago, IL


Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007

Workforce Development Course, Atlanta, GA


University of Kentucky, Gatton College of Business and Economics, 2006

Economic Development Institute, Lexington, KY


Middle College National Consortium, LaGuardia Community College, 2004

Middle College High School Principal Training Residency, New York, NY


National Paideia Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001

Paideia School Leadership Institute, Chapel Hill, NC


Education Trust, 2000

P-16 Leaders Institute, San Antonio, TX


Connecting Assessment and Curriculum, 1999

ASCD Teaching and Learning Conference, Nashville, TN


Great Books Foundation, 1999

Great Books Shared Inquiry Training Course, Bowling Green, KY


Carleton College, 1993

Using the Tutorial and Seminar for Teaching European History, Northfield, MN

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