H. Raye Jones Avery has held her post as Executive Director of Christina Cultural Arts Center Inc. since 1991 and has accumulated 32 years of service in the field of community development with organizations such as Community Action of Greater Wilmington, Delaware League for Planned Parenthood, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center and the United Way of Delaware.
Currently, Raye serves on the governance boards of Kuumba Academy Charter School, Wilmington Renaissance Development Corporation, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Delaware Chapter, Vision 2015, and the Rodel Foundation. Kuumba Academy, a Vision Network school is in its 11th year of operation having recently been identified as one of the top three highest performing elementary schools in the state of Delaware. The Kuumba Model proves the achievement gap between African American students and their White peers can indeed be eliminated. The Kuumba Board under the leadership of Dr. Joan Coker and Sally Maldonado, Head of School are in the process of planning an expansion to add grades 6-8.
In 2001, Raye was appointed chair of the Wilmington Neighborhood Schools Committee. The Wilmington Neighborhood Schools Committee issued a widely read report titled, “They Matter Most” which predicted the devastating effect of creating high poverty schools in the City of Wilmington. In 2013 Raye was appointed to lead a Strategic Task Force on Youth, Education and Citizenship for Mayor Dennis P. Williams. Raye is a steadfast advocate for equitable and effective learning opportunities for urban children.
Raye is a socially conscious Artist Activist, a writer and vocalist with Fruits of the Spirit, a touring chorale having most recently toured throughout the Tuscany region of Italy and Puerto Rico. Raye’s debut CD, “Sistah Girl’s Lament” produced by Dennis Fortune received rave reviews in European and Japanese jazz markets. Her upcoming project, “Every Good-Bye Ain’t Gone” was supported in part by a Delaware Individual Artist Fellowship and includes a spoken word tribute to Coretta Scott King.
Raye is the daughter of educators Valley & Lillian J. Rice, the proud mother of Bankole & Brandy Osimokun (engineer and attorney ) living in Washington, DC; Brandon, an actor living in Los Angeles, Shayna Street, a Mental Health professional in Maryland, Xavier & Fela, her grandsons and Ara Bailey Raye her grandaughter.
“Strive for an open heart, be open to loving, open to forgiving, open to adventure, and open to fully living the possibilities of you. Open hearts and giving hands make our communities and the world a more sane place in which to live.” Raye Jones Avery