Team Member

Gray Sterling

Message Gray Sterling

Gray Sterling

Assistant Director for Washington State

Gray is responsible for the design and implementation of The Education Trust’s advocacy strategy in Washington State that positively addresses the needs of students of color in alignment and partnership with local stakeholders. As part of those efforts, he is working with local partners to help develop an emerging equity coalition focused on the success of Black students in the state.

Prior to Ed Trust, Gray worked at the Washington Student Achievement Council as an Assistant Director of Policy and Planning, where he informed critical higher education policy areas of affordability, enrollment, student supports, and completion in support of the state’s 70% postsecondary educational attainment goals. Specifically, his work focused on stopped-out nontraditional learners, state financial aid, prison education and reentry support, as well as child care access and availability. In each of these areas, Gray was a driving force and vocal advocate for the integration of community voice and equity into the work emphasizing the prioritization of students of color as foundational to the agency’s mission to increase postsecondary credential attainment in the state.

A proud Tacoma resident, Gray holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington in education policy, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington, Tacoma.

What are people most surprised to learn about you?

Before earning my academic credentials, I completed a professional certification program in automotive restoration and customization with the intention of owning and operating a custom car shop. Through this program I gained skills in welding, upholstery, and paint and ultimately ended up building a multi award-winning show car.

What drew you to education?

As a first-generation student of color from a low-income background, I have firsthand experience of the transformative power of education in my life and the various systemic challenges navigated along the way to success. I pursued a career in education policy to maximize my impact toward ensuring others from my community reap the generational social, economic, and political benefits of a quality education without the need to overcome unnecessary challenges and inadequate supports often not experienced by White and more affluent communities in our society.

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