Founder/ Director/ Educator
Maralene Ferguson Bates
Sankofa Education Services (SES) started as Alkebu-Lan Homeschool in the fall of 1990. The Founder and Director, Ms. Maralene Ferguson Bates (aka Ms. Maatsaellah), saw a need to provide a space for young children to learn in a nurturing environment, tailored to their individual learning styles. She began homeschooling her children and the children of other families, friends, and neighbors.
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.” The homeschool environment proved successful in developing an atmosphere where each student was treated as an individual and parent participation was an integral part of their education.
For 30 years, Ms. Maatsaellah has evolved her original homeschool model into a range of academic services meeting the unique needs of more than 100 students, families, and test takers. Sankofa Education Services has a network of educators and scholastic resources which have expanded the personalized academic support to more children and adults. In response to COVID-19, SES provides a range of virtual services to students and parents as well as educational resources to support a shifting educational model.
Ms. Maatsaellah is the mother of five adult children. She has degrees in Business Administration and Business Management. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Medgar Evers College,
an HBCU in Brooklyn, New York, and a U.S. Army veteran. She is a Georgia Certified Educator and an approved facilitator for the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Stanford Tests. She has also been included in two editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and has certifications for International TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) and Teaching Spanish in the Classroom.
Ms. Maatsaellah has participated in Montessori classrooms, taught second-grade A Beka curriculum, and worked as a classroom tutor under the Title 1 Program. She continues to support homeschooling families, tutor individual students, teach group classes, and provide test preparation for students and adults.
She has completed 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 business and education through various courses and programs.
Sankofa is an Adinkra symbol of Ghana, West Africa, meaning to "go back and fetch it." It is a reminder to learn from the past as a guide to the future.