Get to Know Rachel Gay

Being born, raised, and able to serve in the Memphis area has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I have over 10 years of experience in special education in the public school systems, where I worked as a teacher, behavior consultant, and administrator. I started my career in Shelby County Schools as both a special education teacher and high school English teacher at Bolton High School. After spending a brief amount of time in the Achievement School District in the Frayser area, I left the classroom to become a behavior consultant in Arlington Community Schools when the district first opened. Those who were living and/or sending kids to school in Memphis for the school system consolidation probably remember the one year of the mega district and then the start of all of the municipal districts. There was a little chaos, a little uncertainty, and a lot of shifting for so many of us in the schools. After two years in Arlington, a behavior consultant position opened up at Collierville Schools, which is the community in which I live and my children go to school. I have always felt passionate about serving my own community in this capacity, so I jumped at the opportunity while simultaneously completing the requirements to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

I spent a little over five years as a behavior consultant and administrator for the Department of Exceptional Children in Collierville Schools. I will always cherish my time there, and it was such an honor to witness such excellent teaching and service provision. Collierville Schools has so many talented personnel who taught me so much. The need for parent training and support with behavioral difficulties at home, however, is great in each community I have served through the public education system. I worked with many parents as best I could to help them troubleshoot, but my ability to give them the guidance and intervention they needed was so limited. IEP teams would often find themselves with a child who was able to follow directions and complete work at school, but life at home did not look the same. Something was, and still is in many cases, missing for these families.

Continuing the trend of chasing my passion, which is working with kids who may be difficult to work with, I decided to join Germantown Behavioral Solutions as a licensed behavior analyst.  I find it an immense privilege to work in the community that made me who I am by changing the lives of children and their families through the practice of applied behavior analysis (ABA). A lot of the time, my goal as a behavior analyst is to work myself out of a job once a family meets me. I want to give parents, and if needed school personnel, the tools and strategies to help their child in the natural environment—home and school. Sometimes, I have the especially fun opportunity to work on social skills, emotional regulation, or other behavioral needs directly with the child, which is for sure my favorite part of any day at GBS. My goal is always to help those skills generalize to the natural setting, where they are most useful and meaningful to the child and his or her family. My role in helping a child or family reach that goal is sometimes bigger or smaller depending on the context, but always rewarding. When all is said and done, I want my client to have success with the skills they have learned, but without always needing me present.

My areas of specialty cover a broad spectrum of children and adolescents with disabilities or other behavioral concerns, ranging from autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities, and mood disorders to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). I have worked with children as young as 3 and adults through age 21. I am passionate about helping such individuals find their voice, stability, and independence to the fullest extent possible while also supporting their families in the process. It is an honor to have the opportunity to build trust, be a teammate, and advocate for my clients and their families at GBS.

About the author: 

Rachel is a licensed behavior analyst at Germantown Behavioral Solutions with a passion for working with kids and teens. Outside of work, Rachel is a runner with Can’t Stop Endurance and gets completed destroyed by the trainers at Burn Boot Camp Collierville. If you ever see Rachel out and about, she is usually with her husband and two girls, and sometimes with her “son” (Forrest, the sweetest rescue dog of all time). She cautiously cheers for her alma mater, UTK (Go Big Orange!), reads behavior analytic literature for fun, and loves watching any kind of TV show that makes her laugh (looking at you, Modern Family).