Andrea Gray hopes to make 'significant impact' at St. Joe's
By Bob Castello
SJCS Communications Manager
At Carolina High, Andrea Gray thought she would be an orthopedic surgeon. She changed her mind when, as a cheerleader for the Trojans' football team, she saw a Woodmont player's knee injury up close.
"The bone was sticking out," she recalled.
New plan. She had always been interested in television production, so Andrea (pronounced Aundrea) made the easy transition at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and has been involved in video production and graphic design ever since.
Now it's St. Joseph's Catholic School that is benefiting from her talents. Andrea recently came on board as the school's Director of Communications and Assistant Director of Development.
"Andrea brings a wealth of video and event production, social media and communications experience to St. Joseph's," said Director of Development Kevin Meyer. "She combines these skills with an enthusiasm to contribute to the mission of the school."
"I'm hoping over the next couple of school years to really make a significant impact, especially in our external communications," Andrea said. "What I mean by that is in our communications with the Greenville County community at large, and then also to help with the internal communications."
Andrea has made an impact at each stop during her career, beginning with her time at Howard University. She spent seven years working at the university's TV station, the first four as an intern and the next three -- after graduating -- as a full-time employee.
She served as a broadcast technician at the PBS station, and it was a union job.
"You had to take a test to see what level you were at, and, of course, I tested at the highest level because I had just gotten done learning everything," she said. "I knew how to run everything at the TV station, and, at times, had to run everything. It was crazy."
Andrea said she learned about 80 percent of everything she knows at the TV station and probably the other 20 percent in her next position as a video producer and editor at the U.S. Department of State.
"I learned a whole lot at the State Department,” she said. “We had so much equipment because we had to spend so much money. We literally had everything you ever wanted."
After a year at the State Department, Andrea worked for a year as Multimedia Producer for the Archdiocese of Washington before moving south and working for a year as Director of Marketing and Media for Nations Ford Community Church in Charlotte.
Then she began a three-year run as Digital Media Manager for Joe Gibbs Racing, a position she realizes was "every man's dream job." She traveled with the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and has more than enough memorabilia to decorate the best of man caves, from NASCAR championship rings and champagne bottles to signed replica cars and NFL helmets.
More important, she has memories of the kind of man Coach Gibbs is.
"He definitely was a good guy," she said, the kind of man who was the same off camera as he was on camera; who gathered those closest to him and prayed for those who had yet to be saved; who held meetings to give pep talks, lay out expectations and remind them of who they represent.
"And it wasn't him," Andrea said. "Everything went back to, 'You represent God.' "
It was in November 2016 that Andrea met her future husband, the Reverend Charvis Kejuan Gray (he goes by Juan), the Pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Starr and the lead Funeral Director and Embalmer at Beasley Funeral Home in Greenville. Juan lived in Greenville, and all the travel became problematic for Andrea.
In the summer of 2017, Andrea took a position as a Marketing Communications Specialist with Milliken & Company in Spartanburg. But again, the job included filming most of the plants, a lot of fabric testing and numerous demonstration events and trade shows and all of those involved travel.
Andrea and Juan were married in November 2018, and eventually the travel began wearing on Andrea. So, too, did the pandemic; she worked at home beginning in March 2020 (although her husband did get her a “pandemic” puppy for Christmas, Beau, half toy, half miniature poodle).
And the job itself was different.
"I was ready for a change of pace," she said. "They started hiring other companies to produce. At the end of the day, I'm still a video producer, I'm still a graphic designer, and I still want to have the creative freedom to do that.
"What attracted me to St. Joe's was that not only would I be doing strategy, but also doing the creative side. I'm looking forward to creating more content, whether it's video content or just updating the look and feel of our printed materials."
On a personal note, Andrea felt the effects of the deaths of seven family members and friends in a span of about 18 months, including, at one point, three in one week.
She said Headmaster Keith Kiser told her that during that same time, he'd been "praying about untying knots."
"I was real comfortable at Milliken," she said, "but during the time when I got real uncomfortable was the same time he was praying, so basically it pushed me over to here.
"The Bible says, 'Your gift will make room for you,' and sometimes that's the only way to make room is to push stuff to the side to make things work. So I'm very thankful. I'm very happy, and I'm looking forward to some of the ideas coming into fruition."