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New School Dedicated for Nathaniel S. Colley, Sr.

SCOE School Name Recognizes Sacramento Civil Rights Pioneer

Family members receiving framed dedication keepsake

Board Trustee Al Brown (left) and Board President Karina Talamantes (right) joined Superintendent Gordon in presenting members of the Colley family with a framed photo display commemorating the dedication.

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) held a formal dedication ceremony yesterday for the new Nathaniel S. Colley, Senior Jr./Sr. High School. The community school, which serves grades 7–12, is named after the late Sacramento civil rights leader Nathaniel S. Colley, Sr., who was one of California’s trailblazing attorneys in the battle against racial, social, and economic discrimination.

“Mr. Colley was a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer; a Sacramento community leader and human rights trailblazer and the mission of this school is in keeping with the mission and values of its namesake,” said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools. “This campus offers a stable learning environment where our mission is to provide unmatched support to help every student succeed.”

The junior/senior high school, which opened for the 2021–22 school year, provides core academics and interventions aligned with education standards. Students receive additional support and placement, counseling, and the opportunity for career exploration and Career Technical Education (CTE) courses. The campus also offers the Senior Extension Program, which aims to re-engage students in jeopardy of dropping out of high school—or who have been out of school and want to return to complete their graduation requirements.

“The students we are serving at this school are the exact types of students that Mr. Colley would have championed,” said Karina Talamantes, Sacramento County Board of Education President. “SCOE serves those young people who often might feel they are running out of chances, but we don’t let that happen here.”

Members of the Colley family were presented with a framed photo display commemorating the school dedication. Ola Marie Brown, Colley’s daughter, reflected on how her parents aspired to help young people succeed. “They always worked hard and encouraged young people to persevere, give it their best, keep trying. And if it doesn’t work out, oh well, let’s start all over again,” she told the audience.

The dedication included musical performances by students from the Fortune Charter School Drumline and speeches from local dignitaries, including Patrick Kennedy from the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and former City of Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn. The Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC) recorded the ceremony and published a video.

Following the formal ceremony, guests toured the campus and enjoyed displays that detailed Nathaniel Colley’s accomplishments.


Update 5/16/22: Added SECC video.

Ola Marie Brown speaking on-stage

Mr. Colley’s daughter, Ola Marie Brown, told attendees about how her parents aspired to help young people succeed.

Attendees walking onto campus past the Fortune Charter School Drumline

Students from the Fortune Charter School Drumline welcomed attendees to the new SCOE campus.

Attendees looking at photos

Visitors toured the campus, enjoying photos and informational displays of the school’s namesake.

Singer in front of audience

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, singer Sheryl Counter performed the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”