Michele Gay

Michele GayMichele Gay is a mother, former teacher, and now one of the founders of Safe and Sound Schools: A Sandy Hook Initiative. After losing her daughter, Josephine Grace, on December 14, 2012, she chose to take action as an advocate for improved school security and safety in our nation’s schools.

Michele’s background as a teacher and involved parent, along with her personal loss and post-tragedy perspective, uniquely position her to help school communities prevent tragedy, and better prepare and respond in an emergency in their own schools.

Michele holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Towson University and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College. She taught at the elementary level in the Maryland and Virginia public schools before staying home to raise her three daughters and advocate for the special needs of her youngest daughter, Josephine. Michele is dedicated to honoring Josephine in her work to make schools in our country more safe and secure.

School Safety: A Parent’s Perspective
Alissa and Michele tell their personal stories and recount the lessons they each learned on December 14, 2012 and in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School tragedy. The mothers share the inspiring way they have each chosen to help school communities improve school safety in honor of their daughters, Emilie and Josephine, and in memory of the other 18 children and 6 teachers lost on December 14, 2012. This parent’s  perspective provides unique insight and inspiration for parents, administrators, school staff, emergency responders and community members who strive to make their schools safer.

Beyond Tragedy: Response and Recovery Following a School-Based Crisis
This presentation is a personal perspective on the Sandy Hook School response and recovery efforts, as told by Safe and Sound Co-Founders, Alissa Parker and Michele Gay. Based on the mothers’ own experiences, those of victims, survivors, first responders, community leaders, educators, families, and children in the Sandy Hook and Newtown community, the challenges, successes, and lessons learned in the aftermath of tragedy and loss are revealed to better prepare other school communities to respond and recover from emergencies, crisis, and disaster. Alissa and Michele share insights on emergency notification, communication, death notification, protection of victims and victims’ families, mental health needs and services, media management, and financial considerations, as well as other issues surrounding the response and recovery efforts within Sandy Hook and Newtown.

Reunification at Sandy Hook: Reuniting Families In the Aftermath of a School Crisis
Michele Gay shares personal experiences and professional perspective on reunifying a school community in the aftermath of crisis. As an educator and Sandy Hook parent, Michele shares lessons learned and examines current reunification practices, models, and resources to better prepare attendees for reunification planning and implementation in their school communities.