Two local education leaders who have put their time where their mouths are to work for schools and children at the state and federal levels have been honored by with the KIDS Kids First Advocacy Awards.
Anderson County school board member James Sargent and Boyd County Schools Superintendent Howard K. Osborne received the honors during the KSBA Winter Symposium Dec. 1 in Lexington.
KSBA annually selects a state representative, state senator, a school board member and a superintendent for outstanding work for resources and beneficial laws and regulations for the state’s public schools and students. The legislative awards are presented during the session of the General Assembly.
Sargent has only been on the Anderson County board since 2010, but has thrown himself into legislative advocacy for education even before that time. While attending Bluegrass Community and Technical College, he was active in a Capitol rally for higher education. Almost as soon as he was elected to the Anderson County board, he became the district’s legislative liaison, working with KSBA’s governmental relations staff.
According to paperwork accompanying his nomination, Superintendent Sheila Mitchell said, “Twice a year, Sargent helps set up school visits and meetings with their state and local leaders to discuss the education issues in Anderson County. Currently, he is working to set up meeting with Anderson County's federal delegation. He attends advocacy meetings and is a vocal advocate for public education.”
Osborne has worked as an administrator in five school districts spanning 35 years, becoming Boyd County’s superintendent in 2005. He is well-known to legislators, not only those representing his specific district but also others in eastern Kentucky. His local advocacy is exemplified by the successful 2008 passage of a nickel facilities tax without opposition.
Boyd County school board Chairman Robert Green, in his nomination of Osborne, recalled their first meeting. “Twelve hundred students were marching around the football field to highlight academic achievement. Mr. Osborne had broken both legs in an accident and walked on crutches with our students. It was at that moment I decided to become a board member. He is a constant advocate for our children at the local, state and national level.”