Owensboro Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Nick Brake was awarded the R.L. McFarland Leadership Award by the Owensboro Human Relations Commission on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the commission’s banquet at the Owensboro Convention Center.
According to the Human Relations Commission, the award named for Richard L. McFarland, who was the first African-American to be elected to the Owensboro City Commission goes to an individual who through their leadership, has advanced the struggle for civil and human rights in Owensboro-Daviess County. Nominees are supportive of and active on behalf of organizations that advocate for and foster good human relations.
“I am honored to accept this on behalf of all those who work with the students of our district. I want to thank the members of the Owensboro Board of Education. I appreciate their confidence in me and their support of me promoting a strong agenda educating the whole child, which includes a focus on three powerful practices, which I think are a human rights agenda—1. Having high expectations of all of our kids, 2. Providing all students with rich experiences in and out of the classroom and 3. Loving and valuing all students regardless of their background,” said Dr. Nick Brake, OPS Superintendent.
The Human Relations Commission says they selected Dr. Brake for the award because of Dr. Brake’s work with ensuring that all students and families have the same opportunities to succeed regardless of their race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or how they identify. Last January, Dr. Brake was the keynote speaker at the Human Relation Commission’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day. In his speech, he both raised awareness and called for action and equality for all.
“I break the longstanding OPS tradition of not talking about the differences in our students. I cannot ignore the obscene levels of child poverty and not talk about it. By ignoring it, I would admit to you that we have all the tools at our disposal to solve the problem and make it better. The truth is we do not. Schools cannot be and ought not be the primary anti-poverty program for our nation, our state or our community,” said Brake.