Northern Kentucky attorney receives Joseph W. Kelly Award

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Kentucky Board of Education Chair Mary Gwen Wheeler, accompanied by Commissioner Stephen Pruitt (far left), presents the Joseph W. Kelly Award to northern Kentucky attorney C. Ed Massey (holding plaque), a long time Kenton Co. Board of Education member. The award, named for former KBE chair and businessman Joe Kelly (far right), is given to businesspeople who offer outstanding leadership and service toward promoting school improvement and equitable educational opportunities for all Kentucky children. Photo by Bobby Ellis, Oct. 4, 2017
Kentucky Board of Education Chair Mary Gwen Wheeler, accompanied by Commissioner Stephen Pruitt (far left), presents the Joseph W. Kelly Award to northern Kentucky attorney C. Ed Massey (holding plaque), a long time Kenton Co. Board of Education member. The award, named for former KBE chair and businessman Joe Kelly (far right), is given to businesspeople who offer outstanding leadership and service toward promoting school improvement and equitable educational opportunities for all Kentucky children.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, Oct. 4, 2017

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – At its meeting Oct. 4, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) presented the 17th annual Joseph W. Kelly Award to C. Ed Massey, a northern Kentucky attorney and a longtime member of the Boone County Board of Education.

Massey is a partner in the law firm of Blankenship, Massey and Associates, Attorneys at Law, which has offices in Erlanger and Dry Ridge.

The Kelly award, named for former KBE chair and businessman Joe Kelly, is given to businesspeople who offer outstanding leadership and service toward promoting school improvement and equitable educational opportunities for all Kentucky children.

“Ed has been an advocate for public education in Kentucky in the courtroom, the boardroom and even the classroom,” Kentucky Board of Education Chairwoman Mary Gwen Wheeler said. “We’re grateful for his support and confident that he will continue to work for Kentucky’s students for years to come.”

In a letter nominating Massey, Boone County Superintendent Randy Poe noted that Massey is a major proponent of the values of public education. Massey’s parents are retired educators and his children are recent graduates of Boone County schools.

“He says, ‘I will always stand up for the students, even if it costs me my position on the school board,’” Poe wrote.

Massey has been an attorney for 24 years and has served on the Boone County Board of Education for 21 years. Poe wrote that one of Massey’s first serious legal cases directed his path, as he represented someone in education whom he believed to be innocent and was successful in getting the case dismissed.

“This case heavily involved politics and education and required knowledge of the law – Ed’s three loves,” Poe wrote. “From that day forward he believed he could make a difference and help clean up what he saw to be the problems in his community involving politics and education, so he ran for a seat on the Boone County school board.”

Massey has been a member, officer and president of the Kentucky School Boards Association; a member, director and officer of the National School Boards Association and a member of the board of directors of the National PTA. He also has served on the Local School Board Members Advisory Council to the Commissioner of Education and the American Public Education Foundation.

He worked as a substitute teacher in northern Kentucky public schools while attending law school, and he is considering going back to school to obtain a doctorate in education, according to Poe’s nomination letter, because he wants to be involved in educational governance.

The Kelly Award was created in honor of Joseph W. Kelly, a respected businessman and chair of the Kentucky Board of Education from 1991 to 1998. Kelly’s efforts and expertise were crucial to the implementation and nurturing of Kentucky’s school improvement efforts.

Previous Winners of the Joseph W. Kelly Award

  • 2016 Brent Cooper, president of C-Forward Information Technologies in Covington, and Audwin Helton, president and CEO of Spatial Data Integrations Inc. in Louisville
  • 2013 Jim Allen, chairman and CEO of Hilliard Lyons
  • 2011 Henry Hunt, chief operating officer for Dataseam
  • 2010 Helen M. Carroll, manager of Community Relations for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America Inc.
  • 2009 Bud Hudson, CEO of Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center in Richmond
  • 2008 Al Rider, president and CEO of the North Central Education Foundation in Elizabethtown
  • 2007 Ben Cundiff, owner/operator of Cundiff Farms in Cadiz
  • 2006 Henry Vogt Heuser Jr., CEO and president of Unistar/Vogt in Louisville
  • 2005 Wynn Long Radford III, president and co-owner of Higgins Insurance Agency in Hopkinsville
  • 2004 Ann Yager Hamlin, director of Stith Funeral Home in Danville
  • 2003 State Senator Jimmy Higdon, owner of Higdon’s Foodtown in Lebanon
  • 2002 Frank and Mattie Justice, founders of the Frank and Mattie Justice Charitable Foundation in Pikeville
  • 2001 Billy Harper, president of Harper Industries Inc. in Paducah
  • 2000 Vince and Valorie Tanner, owners of the Beaver Dam McDonald’s restaurant

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