Mike Gray earns Lifetime Achievement Award

By Theo Tate
Posted 5/20/24

Mike Gray’s nine-year tenure as Montgomery County R-II Superintendent was a successful one.

Between 2011-2020, the Illinois native oversaw many changes such as moving the school attendance …

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Mike Gray earns Lifetime Achievement Award


Mike Gray’s nine-year tenure as Montgomery County R-II Superintendent was a successful one.

Between 2011-2020, the Illinois native oversaw many changes such as moving the school attendance week from five days to four and launching the 1:1 Technology initiative, was instrumental in installing new lights at the baseball and football fields and adding an all-weather track and helping the school district pass a bond in which additional classroom space was able to built at the high school.

Those highlights helped Gray leave the Mid-Mo Shriners Building on April 25 with a big award. He was named the Lifetime Achievement Award winner at the Montgomery City Area Chamber of Commerce Spring Banquet.

“I always felt that to receive this honor like this, it’s quite humbling,” Gray said. “It’s a result of not just any work I put in, but the result of a lot of people who supported me and helped me in supporting the district. I don’t think any recipients earn this all on their own. It’s the people behind them, helping them or supervising them.”

Jonesburg Elementary School principal Jenny Krattli presented the award to Gray. She said Gray was outstanding as the district leader due to his generosity and kindness.

“Mike always believed that the school district should be supportive, involved and an active participant in the community’s economic business and social endeavors,” Krattli said. “He recognized that our schools were huge parts of attracting businesses to the region. The look of our schools when you come down Highway 19 into Montgomery City makes a statement about our commitment to education. Mike knew that it was important and worked to make our campuses first rate.”

Gray, who was raised in Lawrence County, Illinois, worked as superintendent at Bowling Green for four years before taking over at the R-II School District in 2011. He also had a long education career at Illinois, working as a teacher and principal and being superintendent at the East Alton-Wood River School District for 19 years.

During his tenure as superintendent, Gray worked with board members such as Maria Stille, John Woods, Karl Queathem, Karl Finke, John Shaw and Kasey Pottebaum.

“I worked for several boards of education and I can tell you as a superintendent I appreciate this board wholeheartedly,” said Gray, who retired as superintendent after the 2019-2020 school year. “They kept the goal and that was focusing on students and taxpayers. They really had some tough discussions, but they did it together as a group. It wasn’t a split board or a fighting board all of the time. They always try to come to a consensus on what is best for the students and the taxpayers.”

Seven other Lifetime Achievement Award recipients were in attendance at the banquet. They were Dick Arens (2003), Gerald Deves (2012), Brent Speight (2013), Jim Krattli (2014), Mike Lichtenberg (2015), Bob Schlanker (2016) and Steve Deves (2022).

Alan Schluss of the Montgomery County Fair was the guest speaker. He thanked the community members for helping out last year’s fair.

“We appreciate everybody’s thousands of volunteer hours that this community puts in,” Schluss said. “The sponsorship from the businesses is much appreciated. I don’t know how the Fair could happen without all of the sponsorship and the thousands of hours by the volunteers.”

Chamber president Desiree Peak said the chamber members were helpful all year long.

“We can’t do these things without you all,” she said. “The amount of people who show up to board meetings is great. I love seeing the new faces who come and people who truly want to be a part of this and I am grateful for that.”


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