Being the first is nothing new to REV. KENNY IRBY. Yet, his 2016 mayoral appointment as the first Community Intervention Director for the St. Petersburg Police Department is the greatest challenge of his life thus far. And that were not enough he is also the program director for Men In the Making, an innovative role modeling and academic enrichment program for Black and Latino male youth. Both programs seek to redirect and restore hope in the lives of youth.
Irby is now an independent visual consultant and affiliate at Poynter where he created the internationally recognized Photojournalism program in 1995 and the nationally recognized Write Field, in partnership with the The Tampa Bay Rays, The Tampa Bay Times, Pinellas County Schools, The St. Petersburg Police Department and a group of local partners in 2011. The program was celebrated by the American Graduate Project as one of the Top 10 programs in the nation for reducing the dropout rate, redirecting the prison pipeline in 2014. And in 2016, after leaving his 20+ year post, Irby was honored by the National Press Photographers Association as the first John Long Ethics award recipient.
His spiritual life is rooted in Christian service. Presently, pastoring the 121 year-old congregation at Historic Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg Fla., and is passionate about teaching the good news of Jesus the, Christ around the world. He is known nationally for his outreach ministry to men and youth. Kenny is completing his eighth. year of service as an Episcopal Officer, leading The Sons of Allen (SOA) Men’s Ministry Director for the state of Florida and Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
In this role Kenny travels widely amplifying the voice of the visual journalists and is a frequent motivational speaker, lecturer, judge and expert voice. He brings to his teaching endeavors 30+ years of experience focused on building integrity and excellence in the authentic storytelling. His work and contributions have been recognized with distinction: The Sprague Award for lifetime achievement awarded by the NPPA, chair of the jurors’ panel for the coveted Pulitzer Prize in the photojournalism categories and currently serves as a juror for the Hearst Collegiate Journalism Awards.