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Featured Alumni Profile (January 2017)      

Alumna of the Month, Dr. Willie Mae Hafford-Willett

Alumnus of Jan 2017Our alumnus of the month of January is Dr. Willie Mae Hafford-Willett, a member of the class of 1964 and a native of Brownsville, TN. She is now retired and resides in Memphis, TN. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree, she completed her Master's Degree program in Education with honors at Eastern Illinois University, and the Education Doctorate Degree program at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) and California Coast University.

She is the first of her family to go to college. She and 7 of her 11 siblings, and a total of 22 connecting Haffords or family members have attended Lane College. Her only child, Dr. Rhonda Willett-Black, is also an alumna of Lane College.

Dr. Willett was trained to be a successful Urban School Principal at the Harvard University School of Education's Principal Center in Cambridge, Mass. She then returned to lead 9 other principals and schools as a Cluster Leader. That experience has provided the impetus for her to continue to be sought after and called upon to lead in the field of education as a trainer, writer and as a consultant from around the country. She used her skills to train principals for the New Leaders for New Schools, a nationally acclaimed training program. Dr. Willett hired and trained teachers who are currently Urban School Principals or Administrators in Memphis.

She is currently serving as a certified Educational Consultant. Dr. Willett was an award- winning principal in Legacy Memphis City Schools, and served in this capacity for 16 years.

She honed the skill of Grant Writing and secured over $500,000 in grants to schools she served. Before retirement, she became the Founding Principal of the newly built, nineteen million dollarstate of the arts Holmes Road Elementary school, which has the capacity to serve 1,000 children.

The college loves to brag and boast about the outstanding work that Dr. Willett continues to do for the institution that she loves dearly. To name a few of her services to the college, she served on the Lane College Board of Trustees for 6 years and was appointed to the Presidential Search Committee and the Accreditation Committee at Lane College. For 2 terms she was the National President of the Lane College National Alumni Association. Dr. Willett was successful in raising matching funds through the Bush Foundation for the building of the Chambers- McClure Academic Center (CMAC) on campus. She was the first to throw out a spade of dirt to erect CMAC and created the tiles in the lobby project. Currently, she serves on the Alumni Fundraising Committee and is the current President of the Memphis Chapter of the Lane College Alumni Association. Under her leadership, the Memphis chapter continues to financially support the college in a mighty way!

Dr. Willett is very active in the community and serves in many capacities. Her list of civic commitment include, but are not limited to, Board Chair and member of the Memphis Urban League; member of the Executive Board of the Memphis Branch of the NAACP; member of Executive Leadership Memphis; member of Collins Chapel CME Church; Steward Board; District Lay Ministry Leader of the CME Church; and Regional Vice President of the Women's Missionary Society of the West TN Region of the CME Church.

Because of her passion for education, she is a Charter School Consultant, called on to provide expertise in school organization, finances, grant writing, application screening, personnel selection, and training.

Dr. Willett is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter. She loves traveling with her daughter and watching her beautiful granddaughter, Kaitlyn, run track at Austin Peay State University.

We salute Lane Lady Willett! You may send her well-wishes at willettw@bellsouth.net.

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