Getting to know Springbrook Board Member, Reverend Ray Schooler

Soon after Springbrook Board Member Reverend Ray Schooler relocated to Western New York in 1998, he learned of American Baptist International Ministries’ (where he would eventually become the Director of Development) long-standing relationship with Springbrook—known then as the Upstate Baptist Home for Children. Almost 20 years after taking his first tour of our facilities, he says, “I am continually amazed at the deep level of engagement of those who work at Springbrook. Their service goes far beyond just a job [and] exemplifies their desire to give of themselves…”

Ray joined the Springbrook Board in 2011, just in time to help see us through the final portion of the “Coming Home” expansion, which brought many big changes to Springbrook, such as the opening of the Tom Golisano Center for Autism. Ray’s compassionate understanding of the needs of the people we support and his connections with civic and business leaders from across the nation have resulted in many great opportunities for Springbrook. One recent example, he explains, was when he was able to introduce Springbrook to the Bruderhof Communities, which initialized a relationship with adaptive equipment maker Rifton. Rifton specializes in a range of mobility and sensory devices that Springbrook has used for years to improve the overall quality-of-life for the people we support. Because Ray was willing to help Springbrook expand our relationship with Rifton, the company recently gave us a generous in-kind donation of adaptive chairs for our Kids Unlimited Preschool Program, as well as adaptive bathroom equipment for our newest on-campus home for medically frail students.

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Throughout his decades-long dedication to Springbrook’s mission, Ray says it is the Springbrook “heart, head, and family,” that has inspired him. “At Springbrook, it is all about the people whom [we] serve and their families. When I have an occasion to visit with some of the families, I am always proud and humbled by their deep appreciation for the difference Springbrook is making in the life of their loved one.”

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What he feels proudest about: Before his current role with the worldwide missionary group, American Baptist International Ministries, he spent the majority of his career as a pastor for various congregations. Throughout his career, he says he feels blessed to have seen the difference made in so many lives over the years.

news_rayschooler_2.gifHis favorite part about traveling: As a member of an international ministry, Ray gets to travel frequently, both stateside and throughout the world. He grew up in rural Texas, but after extensive travel, he loves visiting America’s big cities—Seattle, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., and Boston, to name a few—because he “loves the heartbeat of each city.” Of his travels overseas, he explains, “the country that most changed my life was my visit to Burma (now Myanmar)…I was moved by the significance of [the International Ministries’] early mission work.”

Something you might be surprised to learn about him: With a slight chuckle, he responds, “I am so transparent that I don’t think I have any surprises about who I am.” He continues, “I am pretty easy to read and what you see is what you usually get.”

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