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OPS Superintendent Nick Brake Talks With SurfKY About His First Week on the Job

DrOWENSBORO, Ky. (7/4/13) – Dr. Nick Brake’s tenure as superintendent of the Owensboro Public School System started on Monday, and according to Brake, “It’s going well.”

In an interview with SurfKY News on Wednesday, Brake said he has met with over 40 groups and individuals since his appointment as the new superintendent, listening to the positive things that are happening as well as concerns voiced that staff would like to see addressed.

Brake has spent 16 years of his 22-year career in education but has been out of the education world for the last few years, while serving as the CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation.

“I’ve been re-acquainting myself with the people around the state that I used to work with in the Kentucky Department of Education,” said Brake. “But obviously, our first priority will be student learning.”

Brake said that there will be issues to be resolved within his first year as Superintendent, but noted “our first priority will be student learning.”

“We do have some facility issues. We have to look at whether we want to build new schools or renovate current buildings,” said Brake. “We also have the Texas Gas facility to contend with.”

While the Texas gas facility has been considered as a new middle school, Brake stated that the Kentucky Department of Education has advised against that course of action citing spacing issues. He said the district is considering other possible concepts for the property.

“One use I am particularly interested in using the facility for is Career and Technical education,” said Brake. “To even take some of the programs that we have seen instituted through the Community campus, which is sort of a multi-district approach, and even involves some of our colleges and universities in dual credit. I believe we can even consider some multi-district options for that property.”

Brake said he also believes that the district’s preschool deserves attention. The Owensboro Public School district currently has a highly successful and top ranked pre-school program at Hager Preschool.

“One of the (questions) from a facilities standpoint is, ‘do we provide more opportunities for the expansion of that,’” said Brake. “As we look at our facility issues and tweak some things, can we find a location for that preschool program that can expand, and even do as the vision of the federal government is to expand opportunities even younger and provide it to more kids? For us to do that now, we need a bigger facility.”

According to Brake, the fundamental philosophy that OPS has operated under has been “to educate the whole child.”

“Fine Arts, athletics, and education are in a sense one in the same,” said Brake. “They all help us educate the whole child. Overall, I keep coming back to the fact that this is an outstanding school district. There are a lot of opportunities for growth and development here, and I am looking forward to the challenge and being a part of this really great school system. The end game will always be career and college readiness.”

Brake succeeded Larry Vick, who retired from the position.

Alex Reid
SurfKY News

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