Nelson administrator, former KDE associate commissioner receives national CTE award

Laura Arnold
Laura Arnold

Laura Arnold, director of workforce development for Nelson County schools, has been named the 2020 the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Administrator of the Year.

The award recognizes administrative career and technical education (CTE) professionals at the school, district, county, state or federal level who have demonstrated leadership in ensuring teacher and student success and have made significant contributions toward innovative, unique and effective career and technical education programs. Arnold was recognized Dec. 4 during the ACTE conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Arnold, a former associate commissioner at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), is completing her 20th year in education and her second year with Nelson County schools, where she leads CTE initiatives with the district and creates community-centered partnerships throughout the region.

She began her career as a middle school family and consumer sciences teacher and FCCLA adviser. After six years of teaching, she transitioned to a principal position at an area technology center, where she served for almost six years before becoming a curriculum branch manager for CTE at KDE. In this role, she led various curriculum efforts for CTE programs across the state.

Arnold later became director of KDE’s Division of Technical Schools, where she oversaw and guided the 53 state-operated ATCs. She became acting associate commissioner of the Office of Career and Technical Education in fall 2015 and was named full-time associate commissioner of that office in 2016.

During her tenure at KDE, Kentucky was selected as one of 10 states to receive New Skills for Youth grants and led work around transition readiness with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.