My name is Gray Reed and I serve as the Triangle Region President for BB&T, a 144-year old North Carolina based financial services company that operates in 15 States and DC.
I graduated from Broughton High School in 1979, along with my wife, and we have two daughters who are recent grads of Broughton. During my 12 years in the Wake County Public School System, I also attended Joyner Elementary, Wiley (6th grade center), Carnage Middle, and Enloe High for one year.
Opportunities that the School Board faced during my tenure as a student were desegregating the schools when I was in elementary school, combining the City and County schools, and busing to achieve racial equity and balance in the newly combined Wake County Public School System. We had excellent leadership and a very progressive and supportive school board over those years, and all of these challenges were met head-on with a very positive outcome. As a result, the school system consistently improved and this set the stage for an unprecedented era of growth and prosperity for our Region. These were likely even larger challenges than we face today, given our current community resources.
Today, we are dealing with raising the bar even further, while dealing with the high cost of building many new schools to try to keep up with the current and projected growth of the Triangle. Good schools have helped to propel the growth of this Region and we must keep the public schools at the top of our State and the Country to be competitive with attracting quality new jobs to the Region! As a community, we are either moving ahead or moving backwards, and we cannot afford to lose any ground. As I talk to business leaders all across the Region on a daily basis, the quality of our public education system is of paramount importance as we must turn out a highly educated, diverse workforce to meet employers’ needs and attract progressive new companies seeking a highly educated workforce.
WakeEd helps to tell this story, honestly and objectively, to garner the support and resources necessary to move the public schools forward. While this requires a big investment, the failure to make these investments would have highly detrimental consequences for our community. BB&T has been very supportive of the public schools for many years, and in the last several years we have raised the bar by making financial literacy training available to all Wake County high schools, as well as providing leadership training to principals at our BB&T Leadership Institute. Our company is actively involved with supporting WakeEd with our dollars and with volunteering in a leadership capacity. WakeEd has been an integral part of moving the educational system ahead for many years with some fantastic leadership at the helm, as well as on the Board. The organization has stayed focused on moving the schools forward without getting sidetracked by politics, as great schools should not be a political issue. This has garnered much trust and respect in the community. WakeEd’s agenda of promoting innovation in teaching, increasing and improving STEM instruction, and expanding Partners Read and Family Engagement programs are critical objectives and WakeEd is well positioned to make these programs very successful.
While we have a strong public school system in Wake County, we must continue to raise the bar and stay on top of any challenges with which we are faced, as there is no higher priority in moving our community forward!
Triangle Region President