Focus Areas

Racial Equity & Healing
Indigenous Communities


Grayson B. Noley, PhD A member of the Choctaw Nation, Grayson was born and raised in eastern Oklahoma where he graduated from Wilburton High School. Following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Grayson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Southeastern Oklahoma State College. He earned the Master of Education and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Educational Administration at The Pennsylvania State University. Grayson presently is Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma and previously was the Academic Chair of that department. Grayson also was Project Director for American Indian Leadership in School Administration, a grant that, during a five-year period, supported 52 American Indian students as they earned master's degrees in educational administration in preparation for the school principalship. He also headed the Oklahoma Native Education Network, is a past President of the Midwest History of Education Society, and was President of the Board of Directors of the American Indian Graduate Center, a nearly 50-year-old organization dedicated to the support of American Indians in graduate and professional schools. Prior to coming to OU, he was Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Arizona State University and an Associate Dean in the College of Education. He also was an Interim Director of the Center for Indian Education and Director of Tribal Leadership for the 21st Century and the Navajo Principal's Preparation Program, both externally funded projects. Grayson began teaching in Coalgate, OK where he was the high school band director. Subsequently, he served as a Talent Search coordinator and assistant director for Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity in Norman, project director for Oklahoma University's Upward Bound program, director of Penn State's American Indian Leadership Program, Assistant Professor of Education at Penn State, and Director of the Cherokee Nation's Education Department where he was responsible for Sequoyah High School, Talking Leaves Job Corps, Cherokee Nation Head Start, Higher Education, Adult Education and the JOM contract. Grayson's work experiences, including his research and publication efforts, consistently have focused on the education of American Indians and the evaluation of American Indian educational programs. Over the years, Grayson has been awarded more than $5 million in discretionary research and instructional grants in addition to providing leadership in the acquisition of more than $8 million annually to support efforts of the Cherokee Nation's education department during his tenure there. Most recently, Grayson was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Indian Education Association. Named a Fellow by the Kellogg Foundation's National Leadership Program, Grayson also was named an Alumni Fellow by The Pennsylvania State University. He was honored as a distinguished scholar by the Standing Committee on the Role and Status of Minority Research and Development of the American Educational Research Association. Grayson's pursuits in education have led him to nearly every state in the United States and 14 foreign countries. Grayson has published a number of journal articles and book chapters on the status of American Indian education. Most recently his published work has focused on the history of policy in American Indian education. His previous research has focused on the history of American Indian teenage alcohol abuse, the quality of life in BIA off-reservation boarding schools and the need for American Indian school administrators, teachers and professors. At OU, he taught courses in leadership, organizational theory, and education history. Grayson is committed to good health and plays racquetball regularly. He believes it is an activity that can help a person maintain physical strength, reasonable weight control and assist in aging with grace and cognitive balance.