Keynote Presenter Bios
Brittany Ray was born and raised in Washington County. She graduated from Narraguagus High School in 1989 and attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine. After Colby, Brittany was excited to pursue her passion for education, and she returned to Washington County where she spent the next 13 years teaching English.
In 2007 Brittany was named Maine Teacher of the Year, becoming the first teacher to represent Washington County in over 25 years. This same year Brittany transitioned from the classroom to administration when she was hired as the Narraguagus High School Guidance Director/School Counselor. In 2009 Brittany Ray received her Master of Science in School Counseling from Husson University in Bangor, Maine.
Her experiences in the classroom and in school counseling fueled her passion for building relationships and developing strategies to help mitigate poverty and trauma related barriers for her students. In January of 2016 Brittany heard about an exciting new initiative called TREE: Transforming Rural Experience in Education. She knew this initiative could be the key to helping those students experiencing the most adversity. 6 months later she found herself as the TREE Director. Her goal of supporting schools and communities which are poverty, trauma, and equity informed continues today. Transforming Rural Experience in Education uses a coaching model to work intensively within three pilot schools in Washington County. TREE is also a member of a Research Practice Partnership with UMaine and Colby. Combining brain science and best practices in education and human development, TREE seeks to improve education for ALL learners, while at the same time enhancing the voice of rural education throughout the United States.
Brittany resides in Milbridge, Maine with her husband, Ron Smith. Together they have four children.
Emanuel has spent his entire career working in Maine on behalf of students at risk. As Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Community School in Camden he lived with, taught and counseled young people at a turning point in their lives for 36 years. He has also played a central role in the development and growth of Maine’s Alternative Education Association and the Maine Department of Education’s Office of Dropout, Truant and Alternative Education. In 2010 Emanuel received his PhD in education and psychology from the University of Maine, Orono. His doctoral thesis was about the importance of student-teacher relationship in student retention and learning with students at-risk. In 2010 Emanuel was one of the founders of the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Good Will Hinckley. After it’s first year he helped to write the successful application to become Maine’s first Charter High School. He is currently consulting with Threshold, the School’s newest program which reaches out to pregnant, parenting and socially anxious students who have dropped out of school or who are habitually truant.