Thelma Ellis Dickerson (pictured) was a civil rights leader, educator and child advocate. She was a teacher and administrator in Hartford Public Schools. Before winning election to the school board in 1983 at age 59, Ms. Dickerson served for 14 years, including a term as board president.
Not satisfied with the slow rate of district change, in 1997, Thelma Ellis Dickerson founded Jumoke Academy in the north end of Hartford. The term Jumoke is Yoruba (a Nigerian tribal language) for “the child is loved.” Ms. Dickerson envisioned a family-oriented and child-centered school in which every student was nurtured and educated.
Jumoke was charged with the sacred duty of closing the academic achievement gap that leaves children behind and perpetuates historical inequities in our society. We have come remarkably far in that mission.
When Ms. Dickerson laid the foundation for our vision all those years ago, she started a tiny K-3rd elementary school of 125 children. Like other Hartford schools, Jumoke struggled with low test scores in the beginning and could not seem to overcome the challenges of urban poverty faced by their students.
We remain resilient and committed to providing academic experiences for our scholars that are rigorous, relevant, and builds relationships.
Over the next twenty years Jumoke Academy became an academic powerhouse, going on to receive statewide and national recognition — all the while drawing strength from its homegrown mission and character. Today we have grown to an enrollment of over 700 students and serve Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. Jumoke Academy Charter Schools are currently comprised of a Pre-K program (Steps to Prep Early Education Center), an award-winning, NAEYC accredited elementary school (Thelma Ellis Dickerson’s Jumoke Academy), and two high-performing middle schools: Jumoke Academy Honors Science, Math, and Research Technology (a STEM school), and Jumoke Honors at the Hartford Conservatory (an arts integrated school).