DeRayCole250pxDeRay Cole is a native of Arkansas who began his career in teaching. He received his BS Degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. After completing a Masters’ Degree from Washington State University he went to work for a Multi-National Corporation.

Upon retiring, he began his “retirement “career returning to education with North Carolina Public Schools. He served as Assistant Principal and Principal of a “Low Performing” high school. DeRay and his team led the school from “Low Performing” to receiving a Bronze Award in two years being recognized by U. S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best High Schools. He was selected Principal of the year and Outstanding Administrator for the Gifted by North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented.

His last assignment with the public schools was Assistant Superintendent. afterwhich, DeRay served as Project Manager, North Carolina Advanced Manufacturing Alliance. The Alliance consists of a consortium of ten community colleges that was awarded a $18.8M grant from the Department of Labor, Robeson Community College lead institution.

Currently, he provides leadership to STARS (Steps Toward Achieving Respect and Success), a vision of his while at Robeson Community. STARS in collaboration with industry, education, fraternal and community organizations that lead job readiness training in an impoverished community in Robeson County, North Carolina.

DeRay is Principal of Cole and Leach LLC, a company established to create and develop business opportunities in the public and private sector that will benefit underserving populations and communities which will result in building wealth and independence.

An effective presenter in the fields of education and leadership, his message serves to mentor and motivate students and professionals to perform at their fullest potential.

DeRay and his wife, Fay - a retired Media Specialist with North Carolina Public Schools - has two children:  DeRetta and Andre and two grandchildren: Cole and Austin.