|Brent Cooper. Provided.|
Audwin Helton, president and chief executive officer of Spatial Data Integrations Inc. of Louisville, also won the award.
"Brent Cooper is a tireless advocate for public education. Very few people have done more for the benefit of students across our entire region. We are blessed to have Brent as a parent in Fort Thomas," said Gene Kirchner, Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools.
The Kelly award is given to businesspeople who offer outstanding leadership and service toward promoting school improvement and equitable educational opportunities for all Kentucky children.
In a letter nominating Cooper, Boone County Superintendent Randy Poe noted Cooper’s commitment to education as a driver of economic development. “Brent believes an education system that prepares the next generation to become its workforce is the single biggest economic development tool a region can have,” Poe wrote.
Northern Kentucky Education Council (NKYEC) Executive Director Polly Page stated, “Brent understands the interplay between business and education. From the very beginning, he has served as a liaison between the business community and education and understands how that relates to policy and funding.” Cooper has been an NKYEC board member since the inception of the council.
As a member of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Cooper chairs the Education and Workforce Committee. He also serves as co-chair of the Greater Cincinnati Read On! campaign and as a math tutor for the Fort Thomas Independent schools. His company has a business engagement partnership with the Covington Independent schools’ James E. Biggs Early Childhood Education Center and participates in an Adopt-A-Class Foundation mentoring program with John G. Carlisle Elementary School. He also helps organize business engagement tours conducted in Boone County schools and other northern Kentucky schools.
Fort Thomas Matters Publisher, Mark Collier, participating in the Greater Cincinnati Read On! campaign:
Previous Winners of the Joseph W. Kelly Award
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 the 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