March 30, 2022
Faculty Spotlight: Sterling Gray
A faculty spotlight on Sterling Gray, whose love of music at a young age fostered a career to teach young artists.
Please give us some background on yourself and your experience.
My education career started in Baltimore City Public Schools in 2006, teaching general music at Alexander Hamilton Elementary School and Edgewood Elementary School. Throughout my time in Baltimore City Public Schools, I also taught music at Baltimore International Academy and City Neighbors Charter School. I continue to work at Baltimore School for the Arts in the musical theater department as a part-time staff pianist.
I became involved in music at a young age, and my music teachers were instrumental in fostering my talents and my commitment to the craft. I started teaching because I wanted to share my love of music with others. I’ve had several mentors throughout my career that have helped me become the teacher I am today.
What brought you to GCS?
In addition to teaching, I’m also involved in community theater as a pianist and musical director. During a performance of “Peter Pan,” I was introduced to the show’s choreographer, Deb Devoe, who at the time also worked at GCS. She mentioned the school was looking for a part-time pianist to play their shows. I was part-time at City Neighbors Charter School during that time and was looking for a second part-time music position to fill my time, so I decided to apply. Once I applied, I met Carole Lehan, then the theater department chair, and the rest is history!
What is one of the most rewarding moments as a teacher?
My most rewarding moments as a teacher happened when I taught at Edgewood Elementary in Baltimore City. The school hadn’t had a music program for six years. So, I decided to put on a fifth-grade holiday musical called “Moosical.” The musical was about a moose that wanted to fly for the holidays. The students were very excited about acting and singing on the stage, and I was thrilled we pulled it off!
How has the pandemic changed your approach to teaching? Any advantages?
The pandemic has made teaching challenging, especially for the performing arts. I’ve had to adjust the activities so that students are spaced apart and eliminate touching, especially with the singing games and other musical activities that happen at this age level. One of the advantages is the
available technology and the many musical programs geared towards kids at this age level. I’ve utilized technology during the pandemic and continue to do so today.
What advice do you have for students learning in a pandemic?
My advice for students attending school during a pandemic is to continue to be open to learning and growing, whether virtual or in person. I would also urge students to be patient with themselves and not allow this pandemic to dampen their goals and ambitions.