“Get out and Go to Ms. Sams!” That phrase was heard several times on a daily basis, during the course of Jamila Sams’ career as a school administrator in Baltimore City. The phrase was used for removing (insert convenient label here) students who allegedly “did not want to learn.” When we fail to make positive and meaningful connections with young people, we essentially tell them to “get out,” resulting in a myriad of consequences for our young people and our society.
As an educator with over 15 years of experience working with youth of all ages and backgrounds, Ms. Sams has heard every label: troubled, disadvantaged, challenged, at-risk, high-risk – the list goes on and on. Labels are used when adults do not want to take the time to go deeper to uncover what makes a young person thrive.
Jamila Sams has experience in making the impossible, possible with a “No Excuses” approach to change. She started her career as an elementary teacher at Baltimore City’s only year-round school at the age of 21. She then went on to direct the Malcolm X Youth Center, an alternative school for 250 youth who were in need of educational, health and employment services in Park Heights, Baltimore. Later, she created an optimal learning environment for The Crossroads School, which led to it becoming one of the top charter schools in Maryland. Her final position in Baltimore was Assistant Principal of one of Maryland’s once severely neglected K-8 schools; Commodore John Rodgers, where she alongside the “Dream Team” managed to turn-around the school and carved its’ path for success.
Ms. Sams understood the importance of creating connections with the business community. In 2011, she decided to pursue an opportunity that would allow for her to leverage additional resources to schools through corporate mentoring programs. As the Director of Programs for Mentor Foundation USA, an affiliate of Mentor Foundation International, Jamila created customized mentoring and career exposure programs that have connected hundreds of high school students with companies such as ENDO, H&M, Skanska ID, M&T Bank, HOK, Atlantic Media and Qlik Technologies to name a few.
In addition to providing youth with early career exposure, Jamila also created programs that were designed to promote substance abuse prevention and healthy living. In 2011, she created the Shattering the Myths Youth Rally, (an interactive event that shatters the myths youth have about substance abuse) which has led her to have several opportunities to speak at the White House on panels that addressed issues pertaining to substance abuse prevention and its’ connection to youth and education.
Ms. Sams is a proud native of Philadelphia and first generation college graduate of Lincoln University, PA. She obtained her Master’s degree in Educational Administration & Supervision from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She has over 15 years of experience in education leadership, youth development, nonprofit management and strategic partnership development.
Jamila recently founded, Ms. Sams Consulting, which was created in response to the need for adults from schools, nonprofits and the business community to establish positive, meaningful connections with the young people they interact with and provide opportunities to close the achievement gap; especially within lower-income communities of color.