Katie L. Willamson Sample was an educator, activist, and child advocate. She founded the African-American Academy for Accelerated Learning (AAAAL).
Sample was born on August 3, 1933, to Isaac and Eva Williamson, and was the youngest daughter out of six girls. She graduated from Rockford West High School in 1952 and received a four-year scholarship to American Baptist Missionary College in Chicago, Illinois. In 1956, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education.
After getting married, she returned to Rockford as a Program Director at Booker T. Washington Community Center. She pursued postgraduate work at Rockford College in Elementary Education. In 1968, she completed the postgraduate program in Social Work at the University of Minnesota. She worked as a social worker in the Minneapolis Public Schools for 25 years, retiring in 1993.
In 1988, Sample founded the African American Academy for Accelerated Learning (AAAAL). AAAAL is an educational institution that offers unique programming that addresses the barriers to academic achievement among African-American students in Minneapolis through summer programs, Saturday Enrichment programs, and education conferences. After 21 years, Sample retired from AAAAL in 2009.
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