Kathryn "Kay" Robinson Coffey, founder of the Association for Gifted and Talented Students in Louisiana and a longtime education and civic volunteer, was born in Oklahoma City. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in government from West Texas State University and in 1985 was recognized by Northwestern State University with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities for “leadership, service, and efforts on behalf of gifted and talented students.”
In 1944 Mrs. Coffey moved to New Orleans, where for the next fifty years she devoted much of her time to improve public schools. Mrs. Coffey was instrumental in the establishment of Benjamin Franklin High School, the Louisiana School of Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches, and the University of New Orleans. In Louisiana and throughout the nation, she was a leader in the education for the gifted and talented.
Mrs. Coffey was president of Gregory Junior High School Parent/Teacher Association and a board member of Hynes Elementary School and Benjamin Franklin High School PTAs. In 1973 she organized the Association of Gifted and Talented Students and served as its president for many years. The organization pushed for more education programs and opportunities for the state's gifted students. She was a deacon of Lakeview Presbyterian Church and a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater New Orleans Federation of Churches, New Orleans Public Library, and numerous civic and church organizations, and helped to create WYES, the New Orleans public television station. In 1980 Mrs. Coffey moved to California, where she died on December 26, 1994, in Ranchos Palos Verde. Mrs. Coffey was the wife of Clarence W. Coffey and the mother of a son and daughter.