Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy’s (CHCA’s) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr. Dean Nicholas, currently the school’s Assistant Head of School and formerly Upper School Principal, has accepted the invitation of the Board of Trustees to be the next Head of School at CHCA, effective 07/01/21.
This appointment is the result of a national search that began in late November 2020 when the Board learned that CHCA’s current Head of School, Randy Brunk, would be retiring at the end of the school year, completing a long and successful 18-year tenure as the school’s Head. Under Brunk’s leadership, CHCA saw many years of record enrollment, endowments grew substantially, he oversaw capital campaigns raising nearly $20M, and championed innovative programming that established CHCA as one of the nation’s leading Christian schools.
Angela Sweeney, CHCA Board of Trustees Search Committee Chair, led select Board Members and a Community Panel through the selection process. “The selection of the Head of School is the single most important duty of our Board members. Our mission was to find a leader who is passionate about Christian education and has a strong vision for the school’s future. And it was important that this leader reflect CHCA’s Christ-centered culture and values,” shared Sweeney.
“Among the qualified candidates, Dr. Dean Nicholas rose to the top given his extensive expertise being a national leader in Christian Education and his successful 25-year tenure at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy,” shared Ben Beshear, CHCA’s current Board President and ’97 graduate of the school.
CHCA’s current Head of School Randy Brunk had this to share of his successor: “Dean and I have worked towards this day together for many years knowing this was a possible outcome, and I am thrilled for this opportunity for him. He knows what is necessary for the job and I am confident he will fully embrace this opportunity to lead CHCA well into the future.”
Nicholas brings a wealth of experience to this new role. After spending the early years of his teaching career as a college instructor, he joined CHCA’s Christian Studies Department as a teacher and as Chair of the Department. In June of 2007, Nicholas was named Principal over Grades 9-12 and in 2015, added Grades 7-8 to become the school’s first Upper School Principal. In July of 2020, Nicholas was appointed Assistant Head of School, leading the school’s COVID response efforts and operations. He holds degrees from Wheaton College (B.A. Double Major), Wheaton Graduate School (M.A.), and Hebrew Union College (Ph.D.).
Nicholas also received endorsements from Christian educational leaders throughout the country. Dr. Katie Wiens, Executive Director of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability, shared, “I’ve known Dr. Nicholas for over a decade, as we have worked together to build a network of the very best Christian Schools across the nation and the world. From the beginning, I recognized him as an excellent thinker, with the highest standards for what Christian education can and should be.”
Dr. Jon Eckert, Baylor University Professor of Leadership and Endowed Chair for Christians in School Leadership added, “I’ve worked with and studied schools all over the U.S., and CHCA is one of the best. I can think of no one better to lead the work forward than Dean Nicholas.”
Nicholas is thrilled for what the future holds for CHCA and excited to build on the foundation that was laid before him. “For the past 25 years, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with students and seeing them develop a passion to learn, lead, and serve. I have seen them take their gifts and passions to do incredible things, not just within the walls of these campuses, not just within the city of Cincinnati, but literally around the world. I am so honored and excited to be stepping into this role as the next Head of School at CHCA.”
A distinguished instructor and published author in both Christian higher education and secondary education, Nicholas has served on numerous accreditation and leadership teams, education panels, and is a sought-after lecturer and presenter. He also served on the Steering Committee and as the Cincinnati Coordinator for the America-Israel Friendship League.
Nicholas is married to Julie, who is also a published author and currently works for CHCA. Together they have three boys – a CHCA graduate attending Grand Canyon University and two currently attending CHCA’s Upper School. Nicholas enjoys fishing, reading, and taking every chance to see and root for the Milwaukee Brewers and Green Bay Packers in his spare time.
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