Mike Krause named new executive director of THEC

News release from the governor’s office
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointment of Mike Krause as executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

Krause has served as executive director of the Drive to 55 since 2014 and successfully managed the launch and implementation of Tennessee Promise and the other initiatives under the Drive to 55 umbrella.

“Mike’s enthusiasm for higher education and his passion for making college accessible to all Tennesseans have led to the success of Tennessee Promise. He has been an instrumental part of my administration, leading our efforts to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025, and I know he will use that same drive and focus to help lead THEC during this exciting time for higher education in Tennessee,” Haslam said.

Dr. Russ Deaton, who has served as THEC’s interim executive director since the retirement of Dr. Richard Rhoda in 2014, will serve as deputy executive director of THEC. Deaton began at THEC in 2000 as a policy analyst and later served nine years as the director of fiscal policy analysis.

“I am grateful to Russ for his steady leadership at THEC over the past two years and excited that we’ll continue to have his depth of experience on our higher education team,” Haslam said.

Krause takes the helm at THEC as it assumes an enhanced role under the Focus On College and Student Success (FOCUS) Act, which charged THEC with providing greater coordination of Tennessee’s higher education systems across the state, including capital project management, institutional mission approval and higher education finance strategy.

Established in 1967, THEC oversees development of the state’s master plan for higher education, makes recommendations for capital appropriations in the governor’s budget, establishes tuition levels and approves new academic programs.

In addition, Krause will jointly lead the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), which administers state and federal student financial assistance programs, including the state lottery scholarship program, which serves 100,000 students with $300 million in awards.

“Three years into our Drive to 55, we have more Tennesseans going to college and fewer students needing remediation once they get there. We’ve made remarkable progress in higher education under Governor Haslam’s leadership, and I am excited to work with our legislators, employers and higher education leaders to further leverage this momentum to benefit Tennesseans,” Krause said. ”In Tennessee, we’re working to make sure that every student – from the high school graduate to the returning adult – has the tools he or she needs to access and succeed in higher education and find a quality job in the workforce.”

Prior to directing the Drive to 55, Krause, 34, served as assistant executive director for academic affairs at THEC, where he led the successful statewide expansion of the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program, pioneered state efforts in massive open online education and coordinated multiple grant programs.

Before joining state government, Krause served for eight years in the United States Army and Tennessee Army National Guard. He completed three combat tours as a member of the 101st Airborne Division and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

An eighth generation Tennessean, Krause earned his bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University and master’s in public policy from Vanderbilt University. He and his wife, Chrissi, live in Williamson County and have a young son, Max.

Krause joins THEC on August 1.