Since its founding in 1857, KEA and its members have been champions for public education, children, and the employment rights of public school employees. This advocacy has taken the form of lobbying for improved education funding, safe schools, better materials, smaller class sizes, and the empowerment of school employees and parents.

KEA is a voluntary membership organization for school employees. KEA has a broad base of member practitioners in public education, including K-12 public school teachers and classified support professional employees, school administrators, the Workforce Development Cabinet, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), college students preparing to become teachers, and retired educators.

KEA is affiliated with the National Education Association and has local affiliates in every school district. It is the largest professional association in Kentucky.

KEA decisions are made and elections are held in a democratic manner, based on the principles of one person-one vote and secret ballot. KEA members are in charge of their organization.

KEA is organized into 13 district associations whose members elect the KEA Board of Directors, the organization's governing body. KEA members also elect delegates to the annual Delegate Assembly, the highest policy making body of the organization, and to the NEA Delegate Assembly, the highest governing body of the National Education Association.

KEA's president and vice president are released from their classrooms to work full-time for the children and employees of Kentucky's public schools.

KEA's staff structure is organized under the direction of its Executive Director. More than 55 staff members work in the Association's 14 offices located around the state.