Kevin C. Brown, Kentucky’s interim education commissioner, has received the 2020 William T. Nallia Award from the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA).
KASA’s board of directors presents the award annually to an education leader who reflects a spirit of innovation and cutting-edge leadership while bringing higher levels of success to all children.
“Many of you who know me, know that I am not really big on awards because I don’t really believe that you should get an award for doing your job,” Brown said. “But doing my job these past seven months would certainly not have been possible without the dedication and support of my colleagues and teammates at the Kentucky Department of Education, so I would like to share this honor with all of Team KDE.”
Brown said his idea of what it takes to be a great education leader was shaped by Mary Adrianne Davis, the principal of Paint Lick Elementary School when he was a student.
“She was such a great role model to me that I reflected on her leadership and advocacy for children often throughout the past seven months,” he said. “One of the reasons why I took on this role is because we have the best school administrators in the country. Students throughout the Commonwealth, nation and world will never forget the challenges confronted in 2020. It has been an incredible honor to work with you – our state education leaders – during these uncertain times to help ensure Kentucky’s students continued to receive an education regardless of where they are located. You helped ensure they were fed. And you helped support your employees.”
Brown is the fourth person from KDE to receive the award since it was created in 2005, joining David Couch (2017), Rhonda Sims (2010) and former commissioner of education Gene Wilhoit (2006). Roger Marcum, a former chairman of the Kentucky Board of Education, was a 2016 recipient.
Named in honor of the former executive director of KASA who led the tremendous growth of the association in its early years, the award is presented annually to an education leader who has shown a spirit of innovation and exemplary service to Kentucky’s students.
“If ever there was a case of the right person at the right time, it has been Kevin Brown’s service as Kentucky’s interim commissioner of education,” said KASA Executive Director Rhonda Caldwell. “He is a known and trusted colleague of Kentucky’s school leaders, with a solid background in our state’s education policy and governance.”
Caldwell went on to say that Brown’s presence during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a vital part of the ability of local school districts to respond and adapt.
“He has been a steady, reassuring presence,” she said. “When he came in as interim commissioner, no one could have known that this crisis would befall us, nor its magnitude. He has responded with clear, ongoing communication, resources and technical assistance, and unflappable leadership. We’ve been lucky to have him.”
Brown took over as interim commissioner in December 2019 and will serve until the newly appointed commissioner, Jason Glass, takes office on Sept. 14.
Brown is on leave from his position as general counsel for Jefferson County Public Schools and the Jefferson County Board of Education. He previously was associate commissioner and general counsel at KDE. He also served as interim commissioner of education in fall 2015 prior to the arrival of former commissioner Stephen Pruitt.
Brown was an assistant attorney general from 2001 through 2004 under former Kentucky Attorney General A.B. Chandler III. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University, where he was a William T. Young Scholar. In 2001, Brown received his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.
Brown received the William T. Nallia Award at KASA’s 52nd Annual Leadership Institute in Louisville on July 31 before an audience of several hundred school administrators from across Kentucky.
Representing nearly 3,100 education leaders, KASA has members in every school district in the commonwealth. KASA has been connecting education leaders to policymakers, legislators and other interest groups in addition to providing numerous benefits and services to Kentucky’s school administrators for more than 40 years.