Senator Tim Kennedy Honors Dr. Nellie B. King as Recipient of 2019 NYS Senate Women of Distinction Award

After an Esteemed 35 Year Career in Education, Lackawanna City School District’s First African American Superintendent Receives Top State Honor for Her Tireless Leadership

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator Tim Kennedy honored Dr. Nellie B. King as a 2019 recipient of the New York State Senate’s Women of Distinction Award at the New York State Capitol on Tuesday, May 7. For over 20 years, the New York State Senate has sponsored the award, which is presented to women in the Empire State who have enriched the quality of life in their communities through leadership, compassion, and diligence.

Senator Kennedy presented Dr. King with her framed award and Senate resolution Tuesday, and praised her for her dedication to bettering Western New York’s youth and providing critical support to students and their success.

“Dr. Nellie King’s leadership has been paramount to the triumphs of our region’s students, and her passion for education, and our greater community, is evident through her storied career,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “In her leadership role at the Lackawanna City School District, Dr. King was an innovative force and an advocate for her students and their long-term success. Not only is she someone who her former students still rely on for advice, she is someone who I rely on for her expertise and knowledge, and someone I’m proud to call a friend. I’m honored to recognize her incredible impact on our community with this year’s New York State Senate Women of Distinction Award, and look forward to her continued advocacy.”

“I have received many honors in my life, but Senator Timothy Kennedy’s nomination of the Women of Distinction Award will be a legacy for my 6-year-old granddaughter to follow as she grows and takes her place in society,” said Dr. Nellie King.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor than Nellie B. King, PhD. Ms. King has dedicated her life to educating and uplifting the children of not just Lackawanna, but all of Western New York. The numerous initiatives she pioneered will have a lasting impact on our community for generations to come. King’s visionary leadership and compassion for young people has been an inspiration to me, and I’m proud to call her my friend. Nellie B. King is a true Woman of Distinction,” said Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes.   

“Ms. King has touched so many young lives as an educator, a woman of faith and through her annual “Angels Touching the World” awards program which honors local women who like, Ms. King, make this a better community and a better world. I congratulate Ms. King on her many accomplishments and awards, and her latest honor, the New York State Senate’s Women of Distinction Award,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said.

“Ms. King is well deserving of this award and recognition, she has been a role model to me and has taught me what true leadership looks like. Ms. King has honored women in our community for ‘Touching the World’ and it’s appropriate she’s honored as well,” said Erie County Legislature Chair April Baskin.

“For more than 20 years I have been lucky to call Ms. King a friend, confidant, and inspiration,” said Buffalo City Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams. “Her selfless leadership and dedication to Lackawanna’s youth is truly admirable, and I was honored to travel with her to Albany to see Senator Kennedy present her with this deserving, distinguished award.”

Dr. King earned a B.A. in Social Studies from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi, and later earned an M.S. in Education from Canisius College and a doctorate from Buffalo State College. Additionally, she holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from the University at Buffalo, and a certificate in Social Studies, School Administration, and Supervision from Buffalo State College.

Throughout her 35 year career, Dr. King served as a teacher, elementary school Principal, Principal of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction, and Superintendent. She was the first African American Superintendent of the Lackawanna City School District and held that title for nine years. Dr. King developed several initiatives while in that leadership role, including the Kids in Spotlight Program, Lackawanna Center for Family Achievement, the District Model Aids Program, the extended Day/School Violence Prevention, and the Gear-Up Program.  

Her leadership extends far beyond the classroom; for more than 40 years, she has been a member of the Calvary Christian Methodist Church, the Women’s Missionary Council of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the World Federation of Methodist Women, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Ruth Lightsey Scholarship Program.