Barbara Ann Sizemore was born to Sylvester and Delila Lafoon in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in Terre Haute, Indiana. She attended segregated elementary and middle schools and graduated from high school at the age of 16. Sizemore attended Northwestern University, where she received a bachelor's degree in classical languages in 1947 and a master's degree in elementary education in 1954. She later returned to school and received a PhD from the University of Chicago in educational administration in 1979.
Sizemore began her career in Chicago public schools, teaching English and reading in elementary and high schools from 1950 to 1963, and serving as principal of elementary and high schools from 1963 to 1967. In 1969, she was named district superintendent of the Woodlawn Experimental Schools. In 1973, she was elected superintendent of the District of Columbia School System, becoming the first African American woman to head the public school system in a major city.
Sizemore also had an impact in higher education, as an adjunct faculty at Northeastern Illinois University from 1965 to 1971 and the University of Pittsburgh from 1975 to 1992. At Pitt, Sizemore studied schools located in low-income, high-crime areas whose students were predominately African American. She incorporated her findings into an innovative educational strategy called School Achievement Structure (SAS), which she championed as dean of DePaul University's School of Education from 1992 to 1998. Schools that followed her routines had tremendous success raising their students' test scores, increasing these individuals' chances for success in system that often works against them.
Sizemore's first book, a version of her doctoral thesis, titled The Ruptured Diamond: The Politics of the Decentralization of the District of Columbia Public Schools, was published in 1981. Her second book, Walking in Circles: The Black Struggle for School Reform, was published posthumously in 2008.
Sizemore served as Professor Emerita at DePaul University, and a scholar in residence at the National Alliance of Black School Educators from the 1970s until her death. She was the recipient of four honorary doctorates and was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the Urban League, NAACP, and Phi Delta Kappa. She received a lifetime achievement award from the Research Focus on Black Education special interest group of the American Education Research Association. The School of Education at Duquesne University named the Barbara A. Sizemore Distinguished Professorship in Urban Education in her honor.
Asa Hilliard III
Born in Galveston, TX to Asa G. Hilliard II and Dr. Lois O. Williams, Hilliard graduated from Manual High School (1951) in Denver, CO. He received a B.A. from the University of Denver (1955) and taught in the Denver Public Schools before joining the U.S. Army, where he served as a First Lieutenant, platoon leader, and battalion executive officer in the Third Armored Infantry (1955-1957). He later received his M.A. in Counseling (1961) and Ed.D. in Educational Psychology (1963) from the University of Denver.
Joining the faculty at San Francisco State University in 1963, Hilliard spent the next eighteen years there. While at San Francisco State, Hilliard first became department chair, then went on to serve as dean of education for eight years. Hilliard also served as a consultant to the Peace Corps and as superintendent of schools in Monrovia, Liberia. Departing from San Francisco State, Hilliard became a Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education at Georgia State University, where he remained until his death.
Dr. Hilliard was also a Board-Certified Forensic Examiner of both the American Board of Forensic Examiners and the American Board of Forensic Medicine. He served as lead expert witness in several landmark federal cases on test validity and bias, including Larry P. v. Wilson Riles in California, Mattie T. v. Holliday in Mississippi, Deborah P. v. Turlington in Florida, and in two Supreme Court cases, Ayers v. Fordice in Mississippi, and Marino v. Ortiz in New York City.
Hilliard worked with many of the leading organizations on valid assessment practices, African content in the curriculum, teacher training, and public policy. Several of his programs in pluralistic curriculum, assessment, and teaching have become national models. He designed the approach and selected the essays that appeared in The Portland Baseline Essays (Portland, OR) the first time that a comprehensive global and longitudinal view of people of African ancestry has been presented in a curriculum.
In 2001, Hilliard was enstooled as Development Chief for Mankranso, Ghana and given the name Nana Baffour Amankwatia, II, which means “generous one.” Dr. Hilliard spent more than thirty years leading study groups to Egypt and Ghana, as part of his mission of teaching the truth about the history of Africa and the African Diaspora.
Hilliard co-chaired the First National Conference on the Infusion of African and African- American Content in the School Curriculum in Atlanta. He was also a founding member and First Vice President of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and a founding member of the National Black Child Development Institute.
In addition to his numerous publications, Hilliard also received numerous honors and awards. Hilliard was the recipient of the Outstanding Scholarship Award from the Association of Black Psychologists; the Morehouse College "Candle in the Dark Award in Education;" American Evaluation Association, President's Award; Republic of Liberia Award as Knight Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption; and the National Alliance of Black School Educators, "Distinguished Educator Award." Hilliard was an American Psychological Association fellow and a recipient of honorary degrees from several institutions.