Retired superintendent LaRuth Gray reflects on growing up in segregated Texas and her schooling experience

LaRuth Gray brings a unique wealth of experience spanning from the era before Brown v. Board of Education through to the present day.

Gray’s educational journey began with her upbringing as a Black student in segregated schools in Texarkana, Texas. She completed her studies at Howard University in 1954, coinciding with the landmark Brown decision that marked the end of racial segregation in schools.

Shifting from journalism to a career in education, Gray found her passion in teaching English at New Rochelle City School District in New York. She later pursued advanced degrees at Columbia University’s Teachers College, eventually ascending to roles as principal and assistant superintendent. Gray spearheaded a significant school reorganization effort in the New Rochelle district between 1978 and 1983 to address issues like minority isolation and enrollment decline.

Her career milestones culminated in becoming the first Black woman superintendent of New York’s Abbott Union Free School District from 1983 to 1989. Following this, Gray retired from New York University’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and School Transformation in December 2019, where she served as a scholar-in-residence and deputy director.

A recent conversation with Gray shed light on her formative years in racially segregated Texas, her decision to pursue a career in education, and how those experiences shaped her leadership style.

K-12 DIVE: What do you believe is the enduring impact of

Other articles

Education
Biden-Harris Administration pledges unprecedented $16 billion in aid for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration has introduced a groundbreaking level of …

Read More
Post Image
Education
Louisiana Legislature approves state funding for private schools, a victory for Landry

A motion to allocate state funds for K-12 public school students to private scho …

Read More
Post Image
Education
A group of young adults to assist schools in addressing youth mental health challenges

Nelly Grosso, an AmeriCorps member at a Denver-area high school, has actively wo …

Read More