The return to school this fall included plenty of headlines about the teacher and staff shortages many school districts are facing. It is one of the drivers behind the 44.6% average annual growth that Gray Consulting and Therapy in Hampstead experienced between 2020 and 2022. (It is among the 10 fastest growing companies on this year’s list.)
Founded by Heather Gray in 2017, the firm offers educational consulting services and therapy as well as professional development and training for schools. Its team includes speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, teachers of the visually impaired, and orientation and mobility specialists.
Gray explains her firm provides services to many school districts that do not have enough students with such specialized needs to warrant an investment in staff, have shortages in specialized staff or need additional support for their staff. It works with about 50 school districts in NH, Maine and Massachusetts, as well as a few in Vermont.Gray Consulting and Therapy also provides services for adults through the state’s Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Gray has worked in the special education field for about 20 years, including in school districts and as a speech and language pathologist and an independent consultant. She has worked extensively with providing assistive technology and augmented alternative communication (providing technology to students who are unable to speak.)
Gray started college as a biology major but soon found she “hated it” but that she liked her communication disorders classes, which combined data and interpersonal relationships. “I am more of a techy person and like how you can make a difference in someone’s life when you can get the right technology in place for them,” Gray says, adding her firm’s services “help to keep kiddos in their local school.”
Gray decided to start her own firm when her children were older and when her family could afford to take a financial risk on an entrepreneurial venture. That risk is paying off. In six years, she has built her firm to 17 employees and continues to hire to keep up with demand. “I have the most amazing team of professionals, and it’s a pleasure to have them join us on our journey. That’s the real success. I have a talented, passionate group of professionals who enjoy the work they do, who are dedicated to their field and can make a real big difference,” she says.