Sharon Ray

Who is Sharon?

Sharon Ray of Gap, Pennsylvania, has been an educator since 1996. She has taught at the elementary and middle school levels in private, urban, and rural settings and served as an elementary and middle school principal. She currently works with staff and families in supporting the school district’s under-resourced and at-risk students.

Sharon is on the leadership team for a community collaborative of more than 70 organizations that is based on the Bridges Out of Poverty framework. As part of the collaborative, using constructs from Bridges and A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Sharon has helped to strengthen the connections among the school district, social service agencies, and local churches while also supporting and empowering families living in poverty.

Sharon’s degrees

  • Master of Education, Millersville University
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of South Carolina

Sharon’s aha! moment

My aha! moment took place a year into our work with Bridges. As a middle school principal, I was having difficulty working with a student’s guardian. She held a serious mistrust for the school district, and I was guilty by association. It was with the support of a nonprofit in the community that had a strong relationship with her that the guardian and I were able to come to a common understanding. As a school employee, I not only earned her trust with the education of her grandchildren but also became a partner in her journey to move out of poverty. Through this I was able to experience the power of Dr. Payne’s work.

 Sharon’s passions

Attending the annual aha! Process conference and certified trainer workshops has not only changed my professional life but also my personal life. I have left each event with new contacts and friends that strengthen my knowledge and passion about how to best walk alongside others and empower them in their journeys.

What does Sharon do for fun?

My husband Scott and I are so fortunate to have two sons who are the best of friends. Any free time we have is spent watching them play baseball and basketball. We have spent many hours in a car together as a family traveling to various locations for their sports.