Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

CPE associate vice president joins the Kentucky ACT Council

June 08, 2022

Rick W. Smith Sr., associate vice president of workforce and economic development at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), has been appointed to the Kentucky ACT Council.

"I am honored to be a part of the Kentucky ACT Council, and I look forward to serving with a talented group of leaders," Smith said. "I've spent much of my career in higher education and workforce development, and I'm passionate about ACT's work to help prepare students for success."

Smith has more than 30 years of experience in higher education and private sector leadership and has held key leadership and development positions at the Kentucky College of Art Design, Kentucky State University and Northern Pennsylvania Regional College. Before joining CPE, he served as the president and CEO of the United Way of Ross County, Ohio. He has also held leadership roles in health care administration, public relations, business development and nonprofit leadership over the past three decades.

"Rick will bring talent and experience to the ACT Council that I know will be a great asset to the organization," said CPE President Aaron Thompson. "I look forward to seeing how he works in this role to advance educational opportunities in the commonwealth.”

Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies and employers in the U.S. and worldwide with learning resources, assessments, research and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through their careers. The state council oversees the ongoing work of the state organization.

The Kentucky ACT State Organization is vital to ACT's collaborative work in the commonwealth. Focusing on the needs of educators and workforce professionals, the organization:

"ACT State Councils provide opportunities for ACT to support a variety of K-12, postsecondary and workforce initiatives that are important to Kentucky," said Dr. Kurt Burkum, senior director of government relations and policy research at ACT. "We will listen intently to Rick, who will bring a fresh perspective on how ACT can work collaboratively to improve Kentucky's educational and workforce landscape."

To learn more about ACT State Organizations, visit

Last Updated: 6/8/2022