2016 September

Deborah Ferguson Selected for Outstanding Volunteer Service to Public Education and FWISD

Deborah Ferguson

Deborah Ferguson

NBC5 News anchor and Fort Worth ISD volunteer leader Deborah Ferguson, has been selected as a Hero for Children by the State Board of Education.

The Fort Worth ISD nominated Ms. Ferguson for this prestigious honor which is bestowed on volunteers who have made profound and positive contributions to student learning or who have demonstrated sustained periods of involvement and support of public schools.

Although she has served FWISD for a long time and in many roles, it is through her involvement in the Young Women’s Leadership Academy that her extraordinary and inspiring leadership has been easily visible.

Ms. Ferguson, a graduate of FWISD’s Trimble Tech High School, is widely respected for her devotion to community service with special emphasis on the education of young women. Because of the special influence of her own mother in her life, Ms. Ferguson is committed to being a positive role model for young women who will be the mothers and leaders of the future.

“I want students to know that their life doesn’t define them,” said Ms. Ferguson recently addressing teachers at the 2016 FWISD Convocation. “It’s not about where they are now but where they are going: and when they get there, the responsibility and the joy of reaching back and helping others find their way, too.”

Thanks, in part, to the volunteer skills, charisma, and knowledge she brought to her work at YWLA young women interested in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have a promising future. The academy’s first class sent 32 young women to college, earning more than $6.5 million in scholarships.

The Hero for Children award will be officially presented at the September 16 meeting of the State Board of Education in Austin.


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YWLA sixth graders attended Camp JOLT, a summer camp designed to prepare them for transition into middle school. JOLT stands for Journey on Lake Texoma. YWLA teachers participated as counsellors. Highly qualified instructors guided students through an exciting array of hands-on stewardship laboratory experiments and team building activities. Students worked with an instructor for the day or stayed for 3 days of fun: out of elementary school and into the land of GEMS!

Welcome Our New Principal, Tamara Albury

Tamara Albury

Tamara Albury

A native New Yorker, Tamara Albury has been in education for almost two decades.She graduated from Union College, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Africana Studies with a minor in Russian Language. Tamara attended the University of Mississippi and Teachers College of Columbia. She completed graduate work in Curriculum and Instruction and Transformational Leadership. She has worked in traditional and non-traditional school settings as well as in rural and urban areas.

During her 15-year career in Fort Worth ISD, she has worked as a classroom teacher, Lead Content Teacher, Academic/Gold Seal Program of Choice Coordinator, curriculum writer, Network Specialist and school administrator.

Tamara brings extensive knowledge and experience in Programs of Choice, Gifted and Talented Education, Advanced Placement and college readiness. She has participated in the Fulbright-Hays Program to study arts in Mexico, and has traveled with several Fort Worth Sister Cities programs. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and the Junior League of Fort Worth and volunteers in the community.

Fun fact: An avid traveler, she is a granddaughter of a Tuskegee Airman.

The Foundation also welcomes Vice Principal Laura Bennett to YWLA.

YWLA Summer Enrichment Puts GEMS in Action

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For the second summer in a row, rising 9th-12th grade GEMS attended a week-long camp at UT-San Antonio. Twenty-three girls from YWLA represented the largest number of participants from any school, making up one-half of the camp’s total enrollment. Coordinated by the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department., Ms. Bellizan and Ms. Warrens accompanied the girls as chaperones.

Ms. Bellizan said, “This year’s UTSA summer enrichment camp was one of the best so far. It was great to hear the enthusiasm of our students at the end of an activity-filled day. The hands-on involvement on engineering projects, the social bonding, and the experience with dorm life proved to be a winning combination for every attendee. I look forward to next year.”

YWLA GEMS have been invited to make this camp an annual summer event, with the promise of priority enrollment. This is a very popular camp and parents are advised to be on the lookout for camp application materials for next summer.

Thank you to the YWPN for your continued support in giving our girls opportunities they might otherwise not experience.

From the Executive Director

Courtney Kimberling-Radcliffe

Courtney Kimberling-Radcliffe

In my short time as Executive Director of the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth, one thing that stands out beyond all else is passion.  Each individual I have met cares genuinely for our students, parents, faculty and staff and the mission of YWLA and the Foundation. I am honored to be part of such a committed community.

With over 15 years working with non-profit organizations, I have a deep appreciation for dedicated and hardworking volunteers and staff. I know that there is no greater reward than the opportunity to work with passionate volunteers in an outstanding organization. I am very excited about joining the YWLA Foundation at a time when we are planning for the 2016-2017 academic year.

What matters most is that we radiate this passion as we serve you, our donors, sponsors, volunteers and friends, and keep you up to date about what is happening at the Academy and the Foundation. I recognize and appreciate your support in making the past year a huge success. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together to achieve the same success this school year.

I encourage everyone to visit out our website and the YWLA Facebook page.

I am eager to see how much we can accomplish together in the next year helping our committed students.

Best wishes during the 2016 Fall Semester,
Courtney Kimberling Radcliffe

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