Veteran educator Julian Gray died October 6, 2017, after a lengthy illness.
Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Caroll High School auditorium.
Visitation is scheduled from 1-6 p.m. Oct. 13 at Miller Funeral Home, Monroe.
Burial is scheduled at Mulhearn Memorial Cemetery, Monroe.
During his lengthy tenure in the Monroe City School System, Gray became the system’s goto person whenever it needed a strong hand to guide the system.
He served as a teacher, Principal of Carroll High School, Director of Child welfare, assistant superintendent and Interim Superintendent more than once.
Gray was loveable, but he was also an extremely blunt educator. The same people that loved him one week, hated him the next, and then loved him again.
His old school views about education and achieving the desired result often clashed with his peers and parents, but he stood his grounds. Over the years he clashed with parents over students wearing ponytails, paddling and the need for higher standards for students., just to name a few.
His blunt language often irritated parents, but he never backed down or apologize. “It is what it is, the truth is the light,” he once told a group of angry parents. When former superintendent George Cannon began efforts to fire Lincoln Elementary School principal Roy Shelling, Sr. on what he believed to be trumped up charges, he opposed his boss and helped set up a defense fund for Shelling.
Parents who pointed their fingers at him at meetings because he hurt their feelings with his bluntness, found him going out of his way to help their children in school with resources out of his own pocket.
No matter how he angered parents and even some school board members, it was his ability to shoot straight from the hip and call it like he saw it, that led the school board to keep asking him to fill in as interim superintendent each time it fired a superintendent. Individual board members even offered him the job, but he repeatedly turned it down.
He grew up in a tough neighborhood and was among many strong young men who had leadership potential that needed to be channeled. He was mentored by the late Coach “James Hughey” who embraced Gray and scores of other young potential gang members and inspired him to pursue an education. Gray took the advice, completed college at Grambling State University where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He ultimately earned a Master’s Degree plus 30, just short of a doctorate.
He served as a business education teacher in Ferriday before coming to Monroe. He married the lovely Geneva Gray, started a family and plunged into education.
But he never lost his love for children or his rough street savvy that made him “tell it straight.”
In 2004 Gray was injured in an auto accident which slowed his pace. Even then, he returned to serve the system while nursing his injuries which never really completely healed.
Gray knew how to relate to people, had a great sense of humor, and a bluntness that attracted both enemies and friends. He used this unique gift to build fences, and improve education for the students of the Monroe City School System.
He gave his life in service to the greater community.
He leaves to mourn his wife: Geneva Gray; four children: Damian Gray, Julian “Scotty” Gray, Julia Nicole Gray Jason, and Dr. Karen Gray Gomez; and a host of relatives and friends.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete
He’s gone, but not forgotten.