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20 Questions with Joy Grayson

Joy Grayson served as a volunteer in Greenville County schools for 10 years, beginning with initiating and directing an early childhood reading program at Mountain View Elementary School. The mother of two and former attorney also served as legislative liaison for elementary and middle schools. She volunteered with Public Education Partners of Greenville County, an organization that works collaboratively with the community, educators and elected officials to support and strengthen public education and student achievement. She served as a trustee of the Greenville County School Board, District 17, in 2012 and as South Carolina PTA vice president of advocacy in 2013. She was recently recognized by the National PTA with the Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award. She lives in Taylors with her husband, Neil, and two children, Benjamin and Brooks.

1. What’s the funniest thing one of your kids has ever done?

My daughter, Brooks, gave us an invaluable lesson on understanding your audience. After a difficult day at work and a stressful evening trying to get the kids going in the same direction, my husband exclaimed, “I sure wish I could get some cooperation around here.” Brooks, 4 at the time, with a quivering bottom lip and a tear in her eye, walked away and said, “I sure wish I knew what ‘cooperation’ meant!”

2. What quality do you most admire in others?


3. Why do you think it’s important for parents to be involved in PTA/PTSOs?

Anyone who has benefited from an education, which I believe is everyone, has an obligation to advocate for all children to receive a high-quality education. Providing equal and adequate access to education is the key to economic development and to our future because low-skill jobs are disappearing. The National Parent Teacher Association is the oldest and largest child advocacy organization in the country. PTAs at the local, state, and national level provide a communication network which makes it easy for busy people to stay informed on education issues and to speak up on behalf of children. Anyone can and should join the PTA. For more information, please visit

4. How do you juggle your busy career and activism with being a mom?

I am firm believer in PDA: prioritize, delegate and appreciate.

5. What advice would you give other working parents?

Empower your children at every opportunity.

6. Where’s the best place in the Upstate to take kids for fun?

Lake Robinson has a fabulous outdoor recreation area.

7. What’s your super power?

Spending my time on the things I enjoy.

8. What is your favorite TV show?


9. When you were younger, what did you want to be?

A mother.

10. What are your hobbies?

Hot yoga and portfolio management.

11. What is something important life has taught you?

Happiness is an inside job.

12. What is your favorite family ritual?

Snuggling up on the couch to watch a good movie.

13. What always makes you laugh?

Most often, it is my own mistakes.

14. What would surprise people about you?

I am an introvert.

15. What has surprised you most about being a parent?

How fascinating and different children can be.

16. What is your favorite indulgence?


17. Whom do you most admire?

Mark Zuckerberg. I admire his visionary idea to connect the world and his action plan to achieve it.

18. What book do you most recommend to others?

“Team of Teams” by Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It a wonderful book about the importance of developing a shared consciousness and trust in each other to form relationship-based organizations.

19. What’s your signature dish?

Whatever my husband cooks.

20. What is the best gift parents can give their child?

I have a tie for two gifts: self awareness and parent fallibility.