• Bertha Knox Gilkey Pamoja Preparatory Academy @ Cole serves families with children in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade.

    We are one of 16 St. Louis Public Schools named in honor of African, or Black, people. Our school has the distinction of being named for two important figures in St. Louis’ history, Richard Hill Cole and Bertha Knox Gilkey. Richard Hill Cole School was first opened in 1931. A branch was completed nearby on West Belle in 1950. Richard Hill Cole (1855-1927) was a teacher in the St. Louis Public School District for fifty years. He also served as principal of Simmons School. In 2011, St. Louis Public Schools designated Cole Elementary to become an African-centered school. Our name was changed to Pamoja Preparatory Academy @ Cole Elementary. Bertha Knox Gilkey (1949-2014) gained national attention as an advocate for public housing tenants rights.

    Mama Bertha was the impetus for St. Louis Public Schools adding African-centered education to its roster of educational offerings. In October 2014, our school was renamed Bertha Knox Gilkey Pamoja Academy @ Cole, honoring both of these outstanding individuals.




    Collective Work & Responsibility
    Familyhood/Cooperative Economics


    Ma’at (Harmony, Balance, Reciprocity)