Kentucky native and our nation’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, knew just how important the relationship between education and government was, and still is, when he stated, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” The mission of the Rowan County School District is to prepare its students to become well-informed citizens ready to meet the demands of the 21st century. Having people in government who support, defend and advocate for that important mission is critical to the survival of public education in Kentucky and across the nation. For the Rowan County School District, Rocky Adkins, former representative for the 99th Kentucky House District and now the senior advisor to Governor Andy Beshear, has been just such an advocate.
As the son of an educator, Rocky Adkins has known for years the important role that educators play in the life of a child. For children to succeed in their educational lives and beyond, it is essential that educators have the tools and the support they need to help their students. As a member of the Kentucky legislature, Rocky Adkins has seen Kentucky’s public education system being both touted as well as threatened. At every turn, Rocky Adkins has been there to celebrate and defend Kentucky’s public education system. He has been a strong and vocal advocate for the public education system, not just in Rowan County or the other counties which make up the 99th House District, but across the Commonwealth.
For the members of the Rowan County School Board, having someone in the Kentucky Legislature who is as well-respected as Rocky Adkins has played an important role in the growth of public education in Rowan County as well as the growth of the Rowan County community. His support for public education in Kentucky was most evident this past spring when hundreds of educators and public service employees descended upon Frankfort to protest possible changes to Kentucky’s pension system. It was the calm but stern demeanor of Rocky Adkins that echoed through the chambers of the state capitol in Frankfort.
Mary Beth Armstrong, who recently retired after teaching in the Rowan County School System for over 30 years, is the outgoing president of the Rowan County Education Association, a local affiliate of the Kentucky Education Association. Upon hearing of Rocky Adkins upward move in state government, she stated, “I am so excited for Rocky Adkins and the new opportunity he has to serve Kentucky as the Senior Advisor to the Governor. However, I hate to see him step down as Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. Rocky has been such a strong advocate for the people of eastern Kentucky. He has promoted our area by improving roads, bringing in jobs, and providing countless opportunities for our people.”
James Hood, a teacher at Rowan County Middle School and the current RCEA president, added, “Rocky Adkins has always understood that providing a strong education to our children is the key to a brighter future for Kentucky. In recent years, education funding has decreased, tuition costs have increased, and pensions have been threatened. At a time when educators have been beaten down and belittled, Rocky encouraged, praised, and fought to make the situation better. He is a class act.”
As Rocky Adkins leaves his seat in the Kentucky legislature to work closely with Governor Andy Beshear, he will most assuredly be continuing his role as an education advocate. Rocky, your life has epitomized those words of Abraham Lincoln -- the philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. Thank you, Rocky, for supporting and defending the future of Kentucky – its students, their educators and their communities.