Dr. Ken Nicely has been named Acting Superintendent of Roanoke County Schools. His appointment becomes effective on July 1. The announcement was made at a special called school board meeting on April 19. He will replace Dr. Greg Killough, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Nicely is a familiar face in the Vinton area. He and his family live in Bonsack. His wife Teresa teaches special education at William Byrd Middle School. His two sons are William Byrd High School graduates— Samuel in 2013 and Benjamin in 2015. His daughter Emily is currently a sophomore at WBHS and plays on the JV soccer team.
Nicely grew up in Botetourt County where he graduated from Lord Botetourt High School in 1985. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary, a Master’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Doctorate from Virginia Tech.
During his time at William and Mary, Nicely spent a summer working with Spanish-speaking immigrants in a Baptist ministry. After he completed his Master’s degree in teaching Spanish, Nicely and his wife spent two years in Nicaragua, where they helped found the Nicaragua Christian Academy.
He and his wife are active members at Vinton Baptist Church. He is on the HR Committee and helps with special music.
Nicely first joined Roanoke County Public Schools in 1993 as a Spanish teacher at Cave Spring High School. In 2002, he was named assistant principal at Hidden Valley Middle School and became principal there in 2006. He moved to central office in 2012 as the Director of Secondary Instruction and became the Director of Administration in 2016. He was recently named Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Administration for the school system.
“I started my public school career in RCPS as a teacher and still consider myself to be a teacher at heart,” said Nicely. “The audience has changed over the years, but good educators invest time and energy directly into students’ lives and the frontline staff that works with them. I have had opportunities to be a part of student learning from all perspectives as teacher, principal, Director of Instruction, and Director of Administration. Through these roles, I have worked with all of our principals and many other staff members and believe I know the school system well.”
“Dr. Nicely has been a key member of our leadership team and I’m pleased he is taking on this additional leadership role,” said Jason Moretz, Roanoke County School Board Chairman. “Dr. Nicely is well respected among the staff and we’re confident he will be an outstanding acting superintendent.”
School board members stated that they hoped the announcement of Nicely’s appointment would lead to a smooth transition from Killough’s administration and insure stability with a “steady hand in place” for the next several months.
Nicely said that he was truly humbled by the appointment. After 25 years with Roanoke County schools, “I can’t think of anyplace I would rather be.” He plans to continue the great traditions of the school system and “keep moving forward.”
Nicely says his main goal is “to work with staff to make sure decisions made in the interim are in the best interest of students.”
Vinton’s School Board representative Tim Greenway commented, “Dr. Nicely is the right person to lead our transition at this time. He has been in the County school system for 25 years and has the respect of virtually everyone who knows him. He will be a steady, guiding force as we transition from Dr. Killough into the next years of Roanoke County Schools. We couldn’t be more pleased Dr. Nicely will be leading us into the future.”
Moretz announced that the school board is in the process of selecting a firm to conduct a search for a new permanent superintendent and hopes to make the selection of that firm by the end of the month.