Kate Savery, the daughter of William Savery, and sister of Cicely Gunner served as principal of the Hillburn Brook School. Her father, William Savery was a master carpenter who was formerly enslaved. His desire to educate his children after the Civil War led to the building of the first school for African Americans in Talladega County, Alabama. This school later became Talladega College. Today, visitors to the campus of this Historically Black College and University (HBCU) will find Swayne Hall, the original building that was constructed by William Savery still standing. A library was constructed in 1939 and dedicated as the Savery Library.
Kate graduated from Talladega College and moved to Hillburn in 1917. Miss Savery had the arduous task of running a segregated and overcrowded school in Hillburn. In addition, she taught the 7th and 8th grades and coached the boy’s basketball team. Considered “an excellent teacher, who kept abreast with modern trends in education and typical of the finest women of her race, or of any race.” During her tenure at the Brook School, “Kate periodically resigned in protest of the village’s segregated system.”