Dr. James Gray
Dr. James Gray is a product of Louisiana public schools who has dedicated his career to helping children and educators bring out their best. He’s worked his way up by serving as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and district administrator. Unanimously appointed superintendent in July 2020, Dr. Gray led Jefferson Parish Schools through the heart of the global pandemic and recovery from one of the most powerful hurricanes on record for Louisiana.
Despite unprecedented circumstances, Dr. Gray’s first two years as superintendent included remarkable milestones. Just one month into his tenure, JP Schools was among the first large school systems in the nation to reopen for in-person instruction. JP Schools became a one-to-one district for the first time, providing a device and connectivity for every student. The district developed an innovative summer enrichment program to combat learning loss, Jefferson Summer Bridge. Dr. Gray also led the launch of an early literacy strategic plan to ensure all students can read by the end of third grade. The plan provides literacy coaches for the neediest schools, puts new classroom libraries inside all K-3 classrooms, and trains educators on the science of reading. The Class of 2021 set a new record by earning over 10,000 Industry Based Certifications. Thanks to the dedication of employees, a focus on keeping schools open, and fresh ideas to combat learning loss and move students forward, JP Schools was one of the top districts in Louisiana for student proficiency growth on LEAP for the 2021-2022 school year. The district was also one of only 20 school systems in the state to show growth on their 2020-2021 district performance score.
Dr. Gray joined Jefferson Parish Schools in 2018 as Chief of Schools. He implemented a plan to deliver rich learning opportunities for students, built capacity in teachers, and develop school leaders. Under Dr. Gray’s leadership in the Teaching and Learning unit, JP Schools adopted a district-wide high-quality curriculum, created a Transformation Network to provide extra support and resources to high-need schools, and implemented a framework known as the Three Big Rocks to drive instructional practices in all schools across the district. These efforts resulted in Jefferson Parish earning its first District Performance Score increase in four years.
Dr. Gray shares the successes and experiences of the Jefferson Parish education community as a leader and speaker on the state and national levels. He serves on the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) Steering Committee and TNTP’s Superintendent’s Academy. He is also a member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Superintendent’s Advisory Council and serves on the Greater New Orleans Board for the American Heart Association.
Dr. Gray co-developed and trained educators across the state on the use of the Compass Leader Rubric, a tool designed to evaluate Louisiana’s school administrators. He has served on numerous state committees and frequently presents at local, regional, and national conferences focusing on effective leadership through cultures of learning and support systems for effective instructional practices.
Dr. Gray earned a full basketball scholarship to Grambling State University, where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree. He earned a Masters of Education from Nicholls State University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Dr. Gray is married to Ashlie Gray, a professional school counselor. They reside in Jefferson Parish, and together, they are the proud parents of three children: twins Jordan and Jalen and a daughter, Briahni.
Meet Dr. Gray
Listen & Learn Town Halls
Stay tuned for 22-23 dates!