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Sandra H. Ray

B.S.E, The University of Alabama, 1967. Secondary Biology Education.

Sandra Hall Ray is a native of Tuscaloosa County and attended local schools.  After attending her freshman year at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., she graduated with a B.S. degree in education from The University of Alabama. 

Sandra followed in the footsteps of her father, well-respected career educator, Dr. J. Revis Hall and his wife, Clara, with her active involvement in the education arena for over forty years.  She served in various positions, including president, in local and county PTA organizations and was a former elected member and President of the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education.   In 1995, she was elected to serve on the Alabama State Board of Education to represent District 7, which included Tuscaloosa, and served for 14 years.  An involved participant in the ten counties that comprised her school board district, Ms. Ray was an advocate for and spoke to many civic organizations and leadership training groups on education.  

During her tenure on the Alabama State Board of Education, Alabama public schools have benefitted from the creation and implementation of the Alabama Reading Initiative; the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative; Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide; the Alabama Learning Exchange; the expansion of AP courses to every high school in the state through distance learning; Principal and Superintendent Leadership Academies; Torchbearer Schools; Graduation Coaches; and Preparing Alabama Students for Success. 

During her active time in the local and state education arenas, she served as Director of the Alabama Association of School Boards.  The Tuscaloosa chapter of Phi Delta Kappa honored her in 1988 as the Lay Citizen Educator.  Additionally, she served on the UA President’s Community Advisory Council and the UA Teacher Education Council.  She was an appointee to the Governor’s Committee on Instructional Improvement and Academic Excellence chaired by Senator Sanders, and the Alabama State and Local Workforce Development Boards along with the Youth Workforce Council, and the Governor’s Teacher Quality Commission.   She has held membership in Kappa Delta Epsilon, education sorority, and The University of Alabama Alumni Association.  For many years, Ms. Ray served on the Board of Overseers of Samford University.  She is a founding member, past president, and current member of the UA College of Education Board of Advisors.  

She continues to support local school activities concentrating on those that are more centered around her five grandchildren and The University of Alabama.

Ms. Ray was President and Broker of Hall-Ray Realty, Inc. and served on the boards of Southland National Insurance Company, Shelton State Community College Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy, Crime Stoppers, Theatre Tuscaloosa, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and Adopt-A-School.  Active in the arts, she received the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa’s Druid Arts Special Award and, was recognized by TheatreTuscaloosa with the Jake Leigeber Patron Award.   She serves as President of the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa which promotes and encourages the arts with events at the Bama Theatre and the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center.

She was one of the first two women to become directors of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and went on to serve as a Vice President.  Participating with the Chamber, she attended a Fly-In to Washington and several Montgomery Drive-Ins to speak with legislators.  She was the third female to be inducted into the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, has served as its president, is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, and served on committees plus the Rotary Foundation.  She is a continuing member of the 1985-86 class of Leadership Tuscaloosa and past chair of the Education program; she is a graduate, local alumni representative, and active participant of the 1995-96 class of Leadership Alabama.  She was named the Small Business Person for 1991 by the Chamber of Commerce. During her professional life in real estate, she was a Life Member of the Million Dollar Sales Club and a member and former Director of the Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors.

As a 30-year resident of the historic neighborhoods of downtown Tuscaloosa, Ms. Ray has been involved in the Original City Association serving currently as co-secretary, local home owners associations, and the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society.  With TCPS, she is a current board member, past president, and has been very involved in previous Heritage Week activities.  

After retirement from education activities and more recently, her real estate practice, Ms. Ray began and continued classes in oil painting.  As actively involved in art as she was in education and real estate, she has taken many classes and workshops with accomplished artists in Alabama and around the south.  Her teachers have been such well known painters as Robert Johnson, Evan Wilson, Jean Ignatz, Caleb O’Connor, Roger Dale Brown, Kim English, Kenn Backhaus, Dawn Whitelaw, and Anne Blair Brown.  She and a fellow artist operated Gallery on the Boulevard for local artists.  Currently, she and three artist friends have a studio in Artists Row in historic Northport to enjoy learning and practicing their craft.  As a supporter of local non-profits and charities, Ms. Ray has contributed her art for their projects. 

Sandra has a daughter, Michele Minor, who has a college-age son, and a son, Byron Abston, who has four children ages 11-21.  The two oldest grandchildren attend UA as the fourth generation of her family.  Happily, both families live in Tuscaloosa which allows her to attend sports and school activities of the grandchildren.