Voice Recognition

KSBA News Article

Barbourville Ind. board member honored by KBE

Jason Reeves, Robinson Award winner

Kentucky School Advocate
May 2022

Staff report

Barbourville Ind. board member Jason Reeves, a professor of education at Georgetown College, was presented with the Robinson Award for Diversity and Equity in Public Education by the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).

“It’s been a personal honor to advance the cause of access for all P-12 learners,” Reeves said. “To now be included in the list of distinguished people and organizations who have been given this award for their incredible work is truly an honor of a lifetime.”

The award is presented annually to recognize outstanding leadership, commitment and service in promoting equity and opportunities to learn at high levels for all Kentucky students.

The award is named for Samuel Robinson, a member of the KBE from 1991 to 2004 who made diversity and equity in public education his life’s work. An educator and civil rights leader, Robinson began his career in Louisville in 1960 and became a well-known figure there during the Civil Rights era.

Reeves said this award serves as a reminder that the work of inclusiveness and equity is ongoing, and he now has even more responsibility to advance this cause on a daily basis.

Over the past 18 years, Reeves has promoted equity and opportunities for all Kentucky students as both a member of the P-16 community and as an engaged community member, said his nominator.

As a former director for the Knox County/KCEOC Summer Food Services Program, Reeves helped grow the number of students who received a nutritious meal through the summer months by 15% during his three-year tenure.

He also increased the number of drop-off sites, volunteers and meals made daily by 11%. By the end of his tenure, the food program went from an average of 428 meals a day to roughly 755 meals.

As a school board member Reeves has “championed equality for students through support of financial initiatives aimed at opening more opportunities for typically low-income, high-risk students,” said his nominator. As a result, Reeves’ support has led to a 98% rate of students taking Advanced Placement exams over the past three years.

Education Commissioner Jason Glass presents Barbourville Ind. board member Jason Reeves with the Robinson Award during the Kentucky Board of Education meeting. 

Reeves received the Karem Award for Excellence in Education Policy from the KBE in 2018, an award given to state policymakers, education leaders or citizens who have contributed to the improvement of education.“My life would be completely different had it not been for access to public education and especially public school educators,” Reeves said. “They fought for me every day and made sure I had as much opportunity through equitable practices as they could provide. The fact that I now support public schools in their efforts to empower all students through an accessible education is the best part of my work.”

Reeves also has been a supporter of the work of the Families All Together for Students (FAST) program through Berea College within Knox and surrounding counties. FAST engages families in student success through ongoing coaching, involvement and college preparation.

Reeves has volunteered for the Kentucky Education Association to provide free professional development for P-12 teachers in Knox, Whitley, Bell, Harlan, Laurel and Pulaski counties in the area of trauma-informed teaching and learning.

Reeves has worked with the Knox Promise Neighborhood initiative to provide community Poverty Simulation Workshops for area nursing and education students to inform their efforts in working with various levels of socioeconomic clients in hospitals and schools.

“There are so many organizations that have been a part of my journey thus far,” he said. “In particular, I want to acknowledge Southeast/South-Central Educational Cooperative, Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Communities Economic Opportunities Council, Kentucky School Boards Association and Georgetown College for their personal and professional support and spirit of collaboration.”

Top photo: (From left) Kim Walters-Parker, Georgetown College dean of education, Dennis Messer, Barbourville Ind. superintendent, Jason Reeves, Barbourville Ind. board member, Kerri Schelling, KSBA executive director, and Edwin Smith, Barbourville Ind. board chairman, after the Kentucky Board of Education presented Reeves with the Robinson Award. 

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