Michele Gay, MEd
Michele Gay chose to take action after losing her daughter Josephine Grace on December 14, 2012. Since that time, Gay has channeled her work as an advocate, improving safety and security in schools and communities across our country.
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 the Maryland and Virginia public schools.
Now a nationally and internationally recognized public speaker and school safety expert, 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; law enforcement agencies; and top news media sources. Through her work, and always with a goal of helping others increase the safety within their own communities, Gay shares her personal experiences and the lessons she has learned.
The recipient of numerous national awards, Gay is a regular contributor for print, radio, and television outlets. As the primary visionary and author of Safe and Sound’s programs and materials, Gay has served as a stakeholder voice in national legislative discussions. Through these works, Gay continues to build Safe and Sound Schools as a national hub of school safety education, technical assistance, expert content, and best practices.
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.
Gay remains inspired by Josephine, every day. She dedicates herself to honoring Josephine’s memory through this work to ensure that every school, every child, and every community is truly safe and sound.
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Safe and Sound Schools
Michele Gay: Sessions
November 2, 2022 | 8:00 am – 9:00 am | Welcome & Opening Keynote
Rethinking School Safety: A Comprehensive Approach to Safe and Sound Schools
Sandy Hook mother, educator, and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, Michele Gay shares how personal tragedy led her to rethink school safety, and inspired her to develop the Framework for Comprehensive School Safety that guides schools communities nationwide in their efforts to ensure safe and sound schools.
November 2, 2022 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm | Breakout Session
Especially Safe: Safety Planning for Individuals With Special Needs
Do you have a plan for individuals with special needs? Join this session to explore Safe and Sound’s newest program, Especially Safe: An Inclusive Approach to School Safety. Developed with expert practitioners from across the disciplines, the program includes resources, tools, and teaching ideas to meet the safety needs of community members with special needs. We’ll share an overview of the Especially Safe Planning & Preparation and Teaching & Training Guides, introduce the TEAMS framework for inclusive safety planning, and share practical activities for increasing empowerment and building a positive culture of safety within your school community.
- Presenters: Michele Gay and Brenna Morse
November 2, 2022 | 9:45 am – 10:45 am | Leadership Panel
Comprehensive School Safety in Action
It takes a leadership team to build safe schools and bright futures. Join this multidisciplinary team of leaders from Frederick County Public Schools, Virginia as they share the vision, strategy, people, and programs that work together to keep their students and teachers safe and sound.
- Panelists: Teresa Ritenour, 1st Lt. Jason Cornwell, Sheriff Lenny Millholland, Sgt. Travis Mitchell, and Michele Gay (Moderator)
November 3, 2022 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm | Breakout Session
Reunification for the School Community: Lessons Learned in Reunification & Recovery
Michele Gay, Sandy Hook mother, educator, and founder of Safe and Sound Schools shares lessons learned from personal experience, best practices, and essential elements for planning to reunify and recover the school community after a crisis. Join this session for practical takeaways, key considerations, and ready to use reasources to prepare your community for a positive reunification experience.