(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) will present Paul J. Langan Distinguished Service Awards to Kenneth W. Jones and Larry V. Mann on May 13 during the school’s 174th Founder’s Day Program.
The Langan Award was established in 1992 and is dedicated to former superintendent Paul J. Langan (1945-56) in recognition of his outstanding service and constructive leadership. Langan’s innovative approach to education established the foundation for continued improvement of the education of blind and visually impaired children at the school.
Jones, a Louisville resident, graduated from KSB in 1978 and for the past 30 years has been employed by the school as a teacher and outreach consultant. Throughout his tenure, he has been active in KSB athletics serving as a wrestling, goalball and track coach and as an athletic director. Jones will retire at the end of the 2015-16 school year. He also was the driving force in establishing Kentucky’s Association of Blind Athletes.
KSB alumnus and teacher Bo Mullins, who nominated Jones, regards him as a valuable mentor and coworker.
“I was a very troubled young man with a few rough edges and didn’t believe my life would amount to much due to my visual impairment. Kenny never sat me down and said otherwise. What was more impressive was he showed me what all I could become by example,” Mullins wrote in his nomination. “Knowing Kenny as a coworker is even more impressive. He was not just putting on a show for the students, he strives to make life better for individuals who are blind and visually impaired.”
Mann also had a significant impact on KSB athletics. Mann served as a physical education teacher and coach at KSB from 1967-95. During that time, he amassed the most wins and multiple championships in the North Central Association of Schools for the Blind Conference.
Mann, who also is from Louisville, was nominated by fellow award winner Kenneth Jones, his former student. In his nomination, Jones described Mann as a father figure, mentor and friend.
“Besides teaching the core curriculum and sports skills, he taught skills that would help his students to become successful as a spouse, parent and employee,” Jones wrote. “He did not use the soft approach, but taught students that the world was not going to pity them just because they were blind.”