Johns Hopkins University Honors Michele Gay with Champion in Education Award

On May 22, the School of Education recognized the Safe and Sound Schools Co-founder


Baltimore, MD – May 30, 2019Safe and Sound Schools co-founder and executive director, Michele Gay received the Champion in Education Award on Wednesday, May 22 from Johns Hopkins University School of Education.  

Michele Gay, co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, receiving the Johns Hopkins School of Education Champion In Education Award

The Champion in Education Award honors the accomplishments of an individual or organization who displays leadership and innovation in advancing the quality of education, human services, or public safety.  Recipients are identified by the sitting Dean for their contributions in the field and practice of education.  Some of the past recipients have included: Bill and Sylvia Cohen, Katherine Bradley, the Abell Foundation, and R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric.  

Michele Gay was named the 2019 recipient for her work with Safe and Sound Schools, a national school safety non-profit.  Following the loss of her daughter, Josephine Grace, in the Sandy Hook School tragedy, Gay chose to take action and established Safe and Sound Schools as a national resource for comprehensive school safety education, technical assistance, expert content, and best practices.

With a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Towson State University, Gay earned Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College. Prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy, she taught at the elementary level in Maryland and Virginia public schools.

Now a nationally and internationally recognized public speaker and school safety advocate, Gay reaches audiences and consults with all levels of community institutions — schools; municipalities; houses of worship; educational and public safety leadership; state and federal governments; and law enforcement agencies.  Gay is a regular contributor for top news media outlets. She has been featured on PBS Newshour, CBS Face the Nation, among other international publications.  

Gay’s impassioned position on school safety hinges on every community taking a comprehensive and sustainable approach to safety. She works diligently to unite stakeholders of all disciplines and perspectives. An educator by training — and fueled by the heart of a mother and community member — Gay is uniquely positioned to help others prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from tragedies of their own.

Michele Gay remains inspired by Josephine, every day. She dedicates herself to honoring her daughter’s memory through this work to ensure that every school, every child, and every community is truly safe and sound.


About Safe and Sound Schools

Michele Gay and Alissa Parker founded Safe and Sound Schools in 2013, following the tragic deaths of their children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Safe and Sound Schools works with school communities and mental health, law enforcement, and safety professionals to create and ensure the safest possible learning environment for all youth. The non-profit organization delivers crisis-prevention, response, and recovery programs, tools, and resources, backed by national experts, to educate all members of the school community, from students and parents, to teachers and administrators, to law enforcement and local leaders. Winner of the 2015 New England Business Association Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools continues to answer the growing needs of school communities with custom programs, assessments, and training, reaching schools in every state in the country. For more information, visit

About Johns Hopkins University School of Education

Established in 2007, the Johns Hopkins School of Education has quickly taken its place as a national leader in education reform through research and teaching. Grounded in the Johns Hopkins tradition of research and innovation, SOE is ranked among the top graduate schools of education in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.