Founder/ Director/ Educator
Maralene Ferguson Bates
Sankofa Education Services started as Alkebu-Lan Homeschool in September, 1990. The Founder and Director, Ms. Maralene Ferguson Bates (aka Ms. Maatsaellah) saw a need to provide a nurturing learning environment for young children so she began homeschooling her children along with the children of other families, friends and neighbors. She was ultimately successful in giving them the opportunity to be taught in an environment that was tailored to their individual learning styles, where each student was treated as an individual and parent participation was an integral part of their education.
The collective of families grew into a child-centered community that was committed to an alternative education style. They lived, taught and emulated the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Ms. Maatsaellah has degrees in Business Administration and Business Management. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Medgar Evers College, an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) in Brooklyn, New York. She is also an Army NCO veteran who earned airborne jump status at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Ms. Maatsaellah's education credentials include being a Georgia Certified Educator and an approved facilitator for the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Stanford Tests. She has been included in two editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She has certifications for International TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) and for Teaching Spanish in the Classroom.
Over the years, Ms. Maatsaellah has varied her education experiences by regularly participating in a Montessori classroom, as lead-teacher at a GA Lottery-Funded preschool center, teaching a second-grade A Beka curriculum, and as a classroom tutor under the Title 1 Program. She has continued to homeschool individual students, supports cyber-education learners, tutors privately for most core subjects and grades, and offers test preparation workshops for students and adults.
She continued to hone her business knowledge by completing the Goodwill Micro Enterprise certification program and the StartME: Clarkston Business Development program--earning one of three cohort nominations to receive a business funding award. She continues to study and learn through online webinars and courses.
The business structure of Sankofa Education Services continues to evolve with customized services and collaborations to address clients' unique needs in education. A tutor network of approved educators expanded the personalized academic support to more adults, children and families. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Sankofa Education Services is providing all services virtually and developing additional educational resources, including Virtual Bridging and Test Preparation to help students get ready to return to school in Fall 2020.
The term SANKOFA is an Adinkra symbol of Ghana, West Africa, meaning to "go back and fetch it." The symbol features a bird with its head turned back toward its tail feathers, to groom and prepare for flight. It is a reminder to learn from the past as a guide to the future.