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Gray, Barnes Join Normandy Leadership Team

Shonda Gray, Career & College Coordinator 

   Shonda Gray has joined the Normandy Schools Collaborative as its new Career and College Coordinator. 

     In her new role, Gray will collaborate with stakeholders in the business and education sectors to develop and lead a comprehensive career readiness program for Normandy students. Gray is also responsible for ensuring that students receive the appropriate guidance to develop and improve necessary post-secondary skills, introducing students to a variety of career options. She will work with these stakeholders to provide opportunities for students to explore their areas of interest by way of internships, apprenticeships, or similar opportunities.

     Prior to joining Normandy, Gray was the associate head of school operations and community engagement for Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls in St. Louis. In this role, Gray was responsible for developing effective systems around the school’s operations and student success. 

     “Ms. Gray brings a wealth of experience and professionalism to this critical role,” said Marcus C. Robinson, Normandy Superintendent of Schools. “It is vital that our students have a viable path to career and college opportunities, beginning as early as elementary school. Ms. Gray has the expertise and knowledge to develop the relationships and programs necessary to help prepare our students for their lives after graduation.” 

      Gray’s previous experience also includes serving as the St. Louis Regional Director- Missouri Career Pathways with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). There she assisted school districts with identifying high-demand careers in their regions, connecting employers with educators, and helping to coordinate teacher externships. Gray has also worked in similar roles with Confluence Charter Schools and St. Louis Public Schools.

      Gray earned her bachelor’s degree in Art from Fontbonne University in St. Louis. She has a master’s degree in business administration, also from Fontbonne. Gray earned another master’s degree in liberal arts from Washington University. In 2014, Gray received a certification in Effective Policy and Practice for Improving Outcomes from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She was also selected for the Opportunity Trust Catalyst Fellowship program in 2019. 

    Community involvement is important to Gray. She has served with several community service organizations including Urban K-LIFE of St. Louis, Refuge & Restoration, Jobs for Life, and Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Gray also serves on the board of directors for DaySpring Arts & Education, ESA West Foundation, and the advisory board for EdHub STL. 

Dr. George Barnes, Director of EleMiddle Education

     Dr. George Barnes has joined the Normandy Schools Collaborative as its Director of EleMiddle Education.

     In this newly created role, Dr. Barnes will serve as the administrator of the EleMiddle (grades 1-8) schools, developing and implementing policies, programs, curriculum, and managing budgets to promote the professional development of staff and improve student achievement.

     “Dr. Barnes brings a culture of discipline and leadership to this role,” said Marcus C. Robinson, Normandy Superintendent of Schools. “Our EleMiddle schools help set the foundation for our students’ success in high school and beyond. His enthusiasm and commitment to high standards will set the bar for excellence we know our students and staff will meet and exceed.” 

      Prior to joining Normandy, Dr. Barnes was a principal for Rite of Passage/Canyon State Academy, a residential school in Queen Creek, Ariz. He brings more than 20 years of experience to Normandy, having served as a teacher and building principal at public and charter schools in Indiana and Arizona.

      Dr. Barnes began his career as a special education teacher in Indianapolis, Ind. His experience also includes work in higher education as a clinical professor with Arizona State University Teachers’ College. He has also worked as an adjunct faculty member with the University of Phoenix, Rio Salado College, and Grand Canyon University. 

     A native of Chicago, Ill., Dr. Barnes received his bachelor’s degree in History from Butler University in Indiana. He received his teaching certificate from Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill. Dr. Barnes later earned a master’s degree in School Administration from Indiana University, and his doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Phoenix.  

      Dr. Barnes also works with young people outside of school, having served as a youth pastor while living in Arizona. 

     “This is an exciting time to join the Normandy family and I am extremely proud to be a part of the district,” Dr. Barnes said. “I am looking forward to working alongside our dedicated principals and staff to provide the best education experience available to our students.”