R4 Foundation Provides Gym Space to YWLA

img_3508A very special thanks to Bret Helmer of R4 Foundation for giving YWLA students gym space to practice basketball in the mornings before school.

R4 Foundation encourages active lifestyles, smart nutrition, and innovative health initiatives. While research can cure disease, comprehensive wellness programs can prevent sickness. We believe that a person’s state of wellness can affect a larger community, so we wish to encourage anyone’s adoption of healthy habits.

“Education is a Girl’s Best Friend” Supports YWLA

The Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth hosted its second-annual fundraiser, Education is a Girl’s Best Friend, featuring YWLA Principal Tamara Albury and YWLA seniors Lesley Erwin and Betsy Alatorre.

Guests enjoyed food donated by Reata and a meet and greet with several YWLA students. This year the event was held in the home of Winjie Miao, Foundation Board Chair.

Education is a Girl’s Best Friend 2016 would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our Host Committee.

The Foundation would also like to take this opportunity to extend our greatest appreciation to our Board of Directors for their support during this event and throughout the year.

Pictured from left: Tracey Amaya, Robin Sanders, Rachael Capua, Linda O’Brien, Deborah Ferguson, Tamara Payne, Winjie Miao and Renee Arrington.

Pictured from left: Tracey Amaya, Robin Sanders, Rachael Capua, Linda O’Brien, Deborah Ferguson, Tamara Payne, Winjie Miao and Renee Arrington.

YWLA Celebrates Being Named a Blue Ribbon School

YWLA Principal Tamara Albury receives the National Blue Ribbon School award

YWLA Principal Tamara Albury receives the National Blue Ribbon School award

The Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth has been named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School.

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. made the status official at 1:00 pm on September 28. You can watch YWLA’s announcement here.

National Blue Ribbon Schools are on education’s cutting edge, pioneering innovative educational practices from professional learning communities and project-based learning to social and emotional learning and positive behavior systems. Schools are nominated by the state department of education and then complete a comprehensive application about school practices. Schools may be nominated as Exemplary High Performing—among the top schools in a state—or Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing—schools making the fastest progress in their state in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Tamara Albury, YWLA principal attended a two-day awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on November 7 and 8 where school officials heard from Secretary King and other esteemed educators, shared best practices with each other, and celebrated their hard-won achievements.

Message from the Executive Director

If you’re like me, you find it hard to believe the holiday season is upon us and 2017 is days away. What a year it’s been! As you say goodbye to 2016, remember to give thanks for all that you have been blessed with this year.

As we continue the season of showing appreciation, I want to thank every supporter, fundraiser and volunteer for your help to advance our mission of supporting academic and leadership excellence at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth. Every dollar raised or donated, and every hour worked, helped to make a difference in the lives of students we are here to serve.

If you would like to make a year-end gift to help us finish strong, please join me in doing so. Your donation helps supplement classroom and extracurricular experiences for every young woman at YWLA. Thank you for your continued dedication to promote the success of every student in college, career and life.

Season’s Greetings, and wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
Courtney Kimberling Radcliffe
Executive Director

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

Class of 2016 Has Big Plans After High School

SmilingGraduate100% of our 32 seniors graduated on June 5! See where our students are headed, and learn more impressive stats about the achievements of our GEMS:

  • By December 2015, 100% of the Class of 2016 had been accepted to a four year institution
  • As of April 2016, 32 girls submitted 298 applications to 129 four-year universities
  • YWLA seniors submitted an average of nine college applications
  • 89% of applications were submitted to colleges outside Texas
  • The Class of 2016 received more than $6.5 million in merit scholarship and grant offers
Madison E. Acuna-Taylor The University of Guam
Laura C. Anderson The University of New Mexico
Quianna D. Ard Prairie View A&M University
Brinae F. Baston Prairie View A&M University
Alexus K. Brown Graceland University (KS)
Lauren B. Brandon Tarleton State University
Ja’Monica L. Demar The University of North Texas
Amani M. Gardner St. Martin’s University
Kimberly L. Guthrie Oklahoma State University
Shelby E. Johnson Texas Christian University
Sheran E. Hashaway U. S. Air Force
Stormi L. Hernandez The University of Texas at San Antonio
Hannah R. Jones Stephen F. Austin State University
Rayani T. Lee Salem College
Alyssa A. McClean Washburn University
Sofia X. Muniz Southwestern University (TX)
Elle B. Munoz-Diaz Pratt Institute
Sarah-Elisabeth A. Odidika Youngstown State University
Adriana Rodriquez Stephen F. Austin State University
Alexandra R. Rojas Tarrant County College
Margie R. Ruffin Spelman College
Daniela Salazar Carranza Savannah College of Art & Design
Destiny C. Shakir Prairie View A&M University
Jasmine R. Smith Texas Southern University
Sarah Ann F. Smith Tarrant County College
Dija S. M. Sparks Tarrant County College
Jean M. Sumner Catholic University of America
Anna Wane Stephen F. Austin State University
Rochelle E. Whitfield The University of North Texas
Alexis N. Woodard Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
Kennedy S. Woodard Southern Methodist University
Redmond S. Wortham Texas A&M University

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