Ray blends education, philanthropy, pageantry

Jordan Ray

A job description for Miss Carroll County would read like this:


  • Is a strong student who has completed a high-tech curriculum at a local institution of learning
  • Has a passion for helping children and plans to reinvest in the community through education
  • Gives back through volunteer efforts and coordinates large-scale projects to help those in need


Fortunately for citizens of Carroll County, the position is currently filled by Ms. Jordan Ray, a soon-to-be graduate of Carroll County High School, iLead Academy and Jefferson Community and Technical College. Ray is also the reigning Miss Carroll County and Miss Tollesboro, and she will compete for the Miss Kentucky County Fair crown in January.


“We are really proud of Jordan,” said Carroll County School District Superintendent Danny Osborne. “She and a few other students have paved the way for others. Jordan will be among the first students in our district to earn an associate’s degree along with her high school diploma. She is an amazing young woman.”


Ray is in her fourth year at the iLead Academy, an engineering- and technology-focused school comprised of students from five counties, including Carroll. iLead students attend Jefferson Community and Technical College as full-time, regular college students during their junior and senior years. When Ray graduates from high school in May, she will also graduate from JCTC with an associate’s degree.


Ray’s positive school experiences led her think about doing more in the education field. After graduation, she plans to attend the University of Louisville to study elementary education. Currently, she is a co-op at Kathryn Winn Primary.


“Working here at Kathryn Winn helped me realize that it’s what I want to do,” she said. “I hope to come back and teach here. I love working with the kids. At Kathryn Winn, I work with kids in small groups on sight words, letters and math.”


Ray’s education roots run deep since her mother, Jonica Ray, has worked for the Carroll County School District for 22 years.


“Jordan basically grew up in a school building with me,” said her mother Jonica Ray, elementary instructional supervisor for the Carroll County School District. “As a young child, she enjoyed playing school and enjoyed helping out around the school as needed. As she grew older, she expressed an interest in becoming an educator herself.”


Jordan Ray has worked as a Kathryn Winn Primary co-op since 2017. While working at Winn, she found a way to blend her interests in education, philanthropy and pageantry.


“Pageant contestants have a platform that they use to raise awareness for different issues,” Jordan Ray said. “Mine originally was to collect hygiene items for military personnel who were shipping out.”


The focus and name of the program changed, however, when Jordan lost a close friend. She felt that she needed to refocus on her hometown and to celebrate the heroes in her community. “Hometown Heroes” was born. Ray’s “Hometown Heroes” program collects donated items that are then distributed to elementary students in need.


“We get a lot of support from the community,” Ray said. “Students from Winn help out a lot, and businesses like Hometown Pizza also contribute items.”


A final line of the Miss Carroll County job description would read as follows:


  • Is a role model for others and is a real Hometown Hero


And that’s another indicator that Jordan Ray is in the right position.


“We are excited to see what Jordan does next,” Osborne said. “She’s been a true leader in our community and in our schools. Her blend of academics and civic-mindedness is exactly what we want to instill in all of our students.”


The Carroll County School District is a public school system that operates within the geographic boundaries of Carroll County, Kentucky. The district serves around 1,900 students K-12.

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