DeLeon Gray, Ph.D.

CEO, Black and Belonging

Dr. DeLeon Gray is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) and The Ohio State University—where he pursued a Master's in Quantitative Research, Evaluation, and Measurement and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. The teachings and unforgettable cultural events of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast DC helped shape his communal values and self-worth.

At UMBC, DeLeon’s campus involvement took many forms including being named captain of the track team, and serving on the men's 4X100 team during their 2006 conference championship victory and their IC4A 4x100 finals win at Penn Relays. Outside of academia and athletics, DeLeon is known for taking names in Connect 4, hosting lively bowling parties, and talking smack during close-scoring Spades games.

Professionally, as CEO of Black and Belonging, Dr. Gray combines his leadership skills with a passion for exposing youth to the social and professional experiences they deserve. In his faculty role as Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Equity, Dr. Gray has developed three doctoral courses on School Belonging, Equity-Focused Quantitative Methods and Community-Engaged Approaches to Educational Research. His research is recognized by prestigious honors, including the Research on Socially and Economically Underrepresented Populations Award (RISE-UP) from the Association for Psychological Science and a 2018 Best Article Award for his collaborative publication, "Black and Belonging at School: A Case for Interpersonal, Instructional, and Institutional Opportunity Structures," in Educational Psychologist. DeLeon previously received the Change Agent Award of Appreciation from St. Augustine’s University for his community-engaged scholarship in predominantly Black K-12 schools, as well as the 2022 New Leader Award from the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Black Enterprise featured Gray as one of 100 men of color who are "living up to a standard of excellence and using their talents and influence in their respective industries to shift the perception of men of color to create and encourage a positive narrative."

DeLeon is also a dedicated 20-year member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and currently coordinates their annual Black History Knowledge Bowl for local youth in the Raleigh-Durham area. In his personal life, DeLeon cherishes family events, often sharing the joyous experience of welcoming his Baby Gray into the world with a Black Tie Baby Shower. His current interests include delving into memoirs of hip-hop icons, creating workout routines with banana hurdles, and being an ardent fan of the television series "Power" by 50 Cent, which he enjoys watching with his family.

DeLeon Gray’s life is a rich tapestry of life lessons from sports, community work, scholarly pursuits, friends, and family, all rooted in the values instilled in him during his formative years.

Photo of DeLeon Gray