Raymond Shay is the founding coach of the middle school speech & debate team at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart where he also serves as the Director of Technology & Summer Programs. Through his involvement with the New Jersey Speech & Debate League, Ray has worked to expand opportunities for New Jersey middle school students to find their voices and share their stories. Even during pandemic restrictions, Ray coordinated online tournaments and online speech festivals to ensure that middle school students continued to create art and express themselves.


Previously, Ray was the head coach of a high school speech & debate team for 12 years and has been a member of the National Speech & Debate Association for 26 years. Ray has been recognized as a two-diamond coach in the honor society and his students have been named NSDA National Finalists as well as State Champions in both high school and middle school. Ray lives in Princeton, NJ with his wife Cory Clark Shay (also a two-diamond speech & debate coach) and their 5 children.


The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.

432 High Street Burlington, NJ 08016


The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Writer's Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Thespians and Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor's Awards in Arts Education ceremony are a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.