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Ronnie Nolan Ed.D.

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  • Director


Contact Information

  • Department: KECSAC
  • Office: Martin House
  • Mailing Address: Martin House
  • Email:
  • Phone: 859-622-6552


Dr. Ronnie Nolan has worked with the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children (KECSAC) since 2004. KECSAC is an active partner with the Kentucky Departments of Education, Juvenile Justice, Community Based Services and Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, which provides financial support to local school districts throughout the state. This funding is designed to assist partner school districts with the resources to meet their responsibility of educating children served by state agency programs located in those districts.

A proud product of the Kentucky public school system, Ronnie has spent much of his professional career working with at-risk students to empower them to achieve at their highest levels. After a childhood marked by many of the characteristics that are associated with at-risk students, his career began at Berea College where he worked as a mentor to local children. Soon after leaving Berea, Ronnie volunteered with the AmeriCorps National Service Program where he worked with welfare dependent families in Pike County who were striving to reach self-sufficiency. Dr. Nolan’s first introduction to KECSAC came in 1996 when he began working with the MASH Drop-Inn, a residential temporary shelter for at-risk youth in Fayette County, Kentucky. Dr. Nolan served as a youth care worker in the program for three years. The professional experience of working in a KECSAC program offered greater insight into how the program serves at-risk students on a daily basis.

Dr. Nolan served previously as the Director of Student Development and Interim Dean of Students at Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to this position, he served as Director of Student Activities and New Student Orientation Programs at Midway College in Midway, Kentucky. In addition to his other experience, Ronnie has associate faculty status in the College of Education at Eastern Kentucky University and previously served as an instructor in the Leadership Development Program at Peace College.

As a frequent presenter at numerous local, state and national conferences, Dr. Nolan has had the opportunity to share his research and insight on topics relevant to at-risk youth. These have included serving as a keynote speaker at a Department of Juvenile Justice Cadet Graduation Ceremony, as well as presenting at the National Dropout Prevention Network Conference, the Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children, the Kentucky Summit on Children, The National Youth At-Risk Conference, The National Council for Exceptional Children Conference and many other education conferences.

Dr. Nolan has recently been appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to the Kentucky State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children. Dr. Nolan also serves as a member of the Department for Community Based Services Community Stakeholders Committee, and the Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline State Leadership Team. He is actively involved with the Kentucky Department of Education’s Alternative Education Advisory Team where he worked to develop a comprehensive statewide alternative education action plan. The plan, a collaboratively developed guide, includes action steps to increase the success and effectiveness of alternative education programs in Kentucky. His collaboration with KDE has also resulted in the development of best practice models for alternative education in Kentucky.  Dr. Nolan has been a frequent presenter to the Kentucky General Assembly, often testifying about alternative education policy.  Dr. Nolan also previously served on the Planning Committee for the National Dropout Prevention Conference where he was a member of the Student Arts and Entertainment Committee and the Program Planning Committee.

Dr. Nolan has been involved in research related to the at-risk population as well. His primary research during his graduate study at North Carolina State University focused on first-generation college graduates. As a first-generation college graduate himself, he understands the complexities involved in degree attainment and has researched both motivating factors and barriers that prevent first-generation students from succeeding in post-secondary studies. While serving with KECSAC, Dr. Nolan, along with other KECSAC team members and the Department of Occupational Therapy at EKU, conducted a mixed-method descriptive study focused on student transitions between KECSAC programs and general education programs. The results of this study have been presented nationally and internationally at several conferences.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Black Studies from Berea College, Ronnie continued his studies at the University of Kentucky where he earned a Master of Science in Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. Dr. Nolan completed his doctoral degree in Education Administration at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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