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African American Founders of Independent Schools

Today the range of options available to parents and school founders in the United States is many times that which it was when AAFIS co-founders Dr. Gail Foster and Sheree Palmer first began engaging and organizing African American school founders over forty years ago under the umbrella Historically Black Independent Schools. Public education policy has become increasingly private-school inclusive. Independent school founders of African ancestry now have greater access to serving a diversity of families and communities. The school choice movement has had its impact on historically Black independent schools.


African American Founders of Independent Schools (AAFIS) was established in 2016 with the aim of collaboratively responding to these changes in our field. In so doing, AAFIS has reenergized the preexisting network of historically Black independent school founders, and also created a new and growing network of school leaders. This new network is conscious of the rich history of school founders of African ancestry dating back to 1704 and fully engaged with the opportunities and challenges that a new era in education presents.

Mission: To support, promote, and encourage the efforts of people of African decent who found independent schools committed to excellence.  


Activities: We do this through workshops, conferences, advocacy, and networking.  We engage in such activities toward the aim of increasing the number of excellent educational options available to American schoolchildren, and ensuring the flow of resources to current and future school founders of African ancestry.

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