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Joyce Moore Gray

Educational specialist Joyce Moore Gray was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1943. As a child, Gray played the clarinet and was encouraged by her mother and music instructor to become a teacher. She attended Southwestern Elementary School and graduated from Crestwood High School in 1961. Gray received a scholarship to attend Virginia State University where she graduated with her B.S. degree in music. She went on to earn her M.A. degree in education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

After graduating from college, Gray began her career as a music teacher in Clark County School District, Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1981, she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where for one year she taught instrumental music at West Lake Junior High School, Granite School District. The following year, Gray was appointed to serve as that district’s Multicultural Programs Coordinator. While serving in that capacity, she also filled the position as Assistant Principal at Central Junior High School.

In 1984, Gray broke the color barrier in educational administration by becoming the first African American principal in the State of Utah. She was selected to be the Principal of Arcadia Elementary School in the Granite School District, Taylorsville, Utah. After six years, Gray continued to defy the odds when she was appointed Principal of Granite School District’s Roosevelt Elementary School. During her second year at that school, she was approached by an Assistant Superintendent in Salt Lake City School District and requested to apply to be principal of an intermediate school. In 1992, Gray became Principal of Bryant Intermediate School, Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake City, Utah. Bryant Intermediate School became one of the nation’s top schools and was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Gray and her school team were invited to the White House to receive this award. During their Washington, D.C. visit, they met President and Mrs. Bill Clinton.

In 1995, Gray’s ambition led her to enroll in a doctorate program in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. She continued to pursue professional goals and applied for a high school principalship. Another moment in history occurred in 1996 when Gray was selected to be principal of West High School, Salt Lake City School District. Thus, Gray became the first African American high school principal in the State of Utah. Gray’s outstanding leadership skills led her to become Utah Principal of the Year in 1999.

Gray earned her doctorate in education from the University of Utah in 2001. She went on to become Director for Career and Technical Education in Salt Lake City School District for two years prior to her retirement in 2005. Gray is now an Educational Consultant and Founder and President of her own company, Jam G Consulting, Inc.

Gray has earned numerous awards during her professional journey. These include: the NAACP Rosa Parks Award, UASCD Educator of The Year, NCCJ Community Award, YWCA Outstanding Achievement Award in Education and the UWEAA President’s Award. Her work in the Utah community included: Board member of the United Way of the Greater Salt Lake Area; YWCA Board member; Chair, Utah Governor’s Black Advisory Council; Board of Lay Editors for Salt Lake Tribune’s “Common Carrier” column; Minister of Music and Director at New Pilgrim Baptist Church; Youth Director, NPBC; Chartering President for the Utah Alliance of Black School Educators. Gray is also a chartering member of Upsilon Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She currently serves as that chapter’s President.

Gray and her husband, Lloyd, reside in Murray, Utah. They have three children and eight grand children

Accession Number

A2008.046

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/13/2008

Last Name

Gray

Maker Category
Middle Name

Moore

Schools

Crestwood High School

Southwestern Elementary School

Virginia State University

Chestnut Street School

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

University of Utah

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

Portsmouth

HM ID

GRA09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Birth Date

8/3/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Education consultant and principal Joyce Moore Gray (1943 - ) was the first African American principal in the history of the State of Utah. She was also founder and president of her own educational consulting company, Jam G Consulting, Inc.

Employment

Clark County School District

Granite School District

Arcadia Elementary School

Simmons Associates - The Education Company

Jam G Consulting, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joyce Moore Gray's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her parents' emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her likeness to her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her father's service in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers segregation in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her family's house in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers her first trip to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes Victory Manor in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her early interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray lists her elementary and high schools

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls her activities at Crestwood High School in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about the segregated school system in Chesapeake, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Joyce Moore Gray narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers the music of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers the segregated movie theater in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her early religious experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers her early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her first year at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers F. Nathaniel Gatlin

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her activities at Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers learning to play brass, string and percussion instruments

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls being hired at Jo Mackey Elementary School in North Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her teaching experiences in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers the music scene in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her experiences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers her courtship with her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her early teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls her work for the Granite School District

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her early experiences as an elementary school principal

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the challenges she faced at Arcadia Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls becoming the principal of Roosevelt Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her work at Bryant Intermediate School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray recalls becoming the principal of West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her start as the principal of West High School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray remembers developing the I CARE program

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the demographics of West High School's student body

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her Ed.D. degree program

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the academic programs at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joyce Moore Gray describes the academic programs at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her work as a educational consultant

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her organizational involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her involvement with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about diversity in the State of Utah

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her philosophy of education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joyce Moore Gray describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Joyce Moore Gray reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Joyce Moore Gray reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Joyce Moore Gray talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Joyce Moore Gray describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Joyce Moore Gray narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Joyce Moore Gray describes her early experiences as an elementary school principal
Joyce Moore Gray describes the challenges she faced at Arcadia Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah
Transcript
Now here's where the story starts.$$(Laughter) Okay.$$(Laughter).$$Go ahead (laughter).$$Well, in this situation, now that I'm the person that's in charge of the school [Arcadia Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah], it's a little bit different than being a teacher. So, I mean, the race--racists began to surface in the community and at the school, from the teachers, from the students, and from the parents. And it was, it was difficult that first year because, first of all, parents were looking at me and saying, "Is she qualified to be at the school? Does she really have the credentials? We want to see her creden- ." They actually said this to my assistant superintendent: "We want to see her credentials." And then, there were a group of parents that were very, very racist. Some of them pulled their kids out of the school, went to other schools, but yet they still had--they were noisy enough to create havoc in the school that I was in. There were students that actually called me a nigger. There were parents that actually called me nigger. And it was, it was not a happy time. I was at that school for six years, and it probably took three good years to really, you know, get myself situated in that school.$$How did you handle, you know, that, the name calling and that sort of thing?$$I think I handled it--I had a, I had a secretary, a white lady was my secretary, but very supportive of me and she was always there for me. I had, I had people at my church [New Pilgrim Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, Utah], and I had Lloyd [Gray's husband, Lloyd Gray] that I would talk to. The way I handled it, I knew that I had to do a good job, and I knew I had to always do what was best for the children. And so, what I would do is I would put my focus on doing what was best for the kids. Because parents wanted to come after me, and say that I wasn't doing what was best for the kids, you know, that I was misusing funds, that I was assigning students to the wrong teachers or just--. But I knew, and so I just kept focusing on what I knew was right. But the other--I think the strongest thing that came out that my first or second year, was the fact that it was, this was a small group, the racist group, the people that were basically trying to get me out of the school. They, they had gone to the school board and everything, but there was a silent majority out there that really supported what I was doing. And what they did was they came together, and they put together a manual of support letters that were given to the board of education saying that they wanted me in the school and that, you know, they didn't represent the minority; they represented the large majority. And that was probably my salvation in terms of--. And it turned out to be a good situation. I mean, by my third, my, my fourth, fifth, and sixth year, I didn't want to move. The parents didn't want me out. The teachers that were still there with me didn't want me gone, and the students loved me, so I didn't want to go. But in that district [Granite School District] at that time, they make changes every six to eight years. And my sixth year was up, so the school board made--put me in another assignment at another school. But, yeah, that was, that was a pretty rough time.$I was wondering if you had any preparation for that kind of thing. Did you anticipate it at all, or did anybody try to warn you about what might happen or?$$Nope, nope, there was no warning. It just came full force. There was no preparation and I don't even know if they, if anyone knew how to prepare, prepare the community for a black woman coming in to be principal of their school, or prepare the school [Arcadia Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah]. Now what, what the people at the school and what the people at, in the community wanted to do, they wanted me to change who I was in order to be their principal. And changing who I was meant giving parents what they wanted, each parent, giving teachers what they wanted, whether they were right or wrong, buying into that system. I had, I had one person to say to me--because I, you know, I didn't get angry with them. I didn't curse anyone out. I just did my job, and I did it well, and I did my homework, and I was very firm in what I believed. And I had one person to say to me one time, "You're such a good person, you should be a Mormon." So, I said, "Are you saying that only Mormons, or people that are LDS [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] can be good people?" "Well, I really didn't mean that way." I said, "Well, that's how it came off." I'm not Mormon. I'm Baptist, you know, and I'm a person. I'm who I am, and I can't change that. The assistant superintendent said to me one time, "What can I do to help you?" I said, "Well, you've got to support who I am, and what I'm doing." And I said, "You can't change me. I'm a black woman, an African American woman; you can't change that. It's what it is, it's who I am. And you have to, you know, you have to respect that. That's the only thing you can do to help me. Support the work that I do, you know, don't let my race or my gender interfere with what I'm doing professionally."