Success Through Wisdom & Ingenuity...
What is B.E. Academy?
B.E. Academy for Girls, located in Nashville, TN, was founded by Lydia Schumake and Tanisha Wilson in 2022.
Our mission is to prepare and support our students to transition from dependent learners to independent thinkers.
Using a culturally relevant and responsive STEAM approach, we will prepare our students with the structural skills, knowledge and social-emotional support to pursue a pathway to college, a career, or entrepreneurship. Our girls deserve to know they have options.
We believe that culture is fundamentally imperative for learning and by creating a diverse and inclusive academic environment, we will reduce STEAM academic gaps no matter a girl's race, class, or background.
With adequate support and the effort of our village, we anticipate our first classes will begin in the Fall of 2024 with grades 6, 7 and 8, with expansion to 9th grade the following year. Our first cohort of high school girls will begin classes in Fall 2025.
Only 30 girls will be admitted in our inaugural year.
To submit an inquiry for admissions or host an informational mixer at your home, click the button below.
What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?
Culturally responsive teaching intentionally considers elements such as a student's background and perspectives, experiences, and culture in an attempt to strengthen the bond and understanding between teacher and student.
Creating a culturally inclusive classroom environment can start with addressing any personal biases and working to reduce them. This can be done through research on diverse perspectives, cultural values, and contributions while remaining open-minded about preconceived notions.
Studies have found that teachers show cultural bias just as much as any other person. These biases can have detrimental effects on the learning experience and overall academic performance of those directly affected by them.
At the foundation of the B.E. Academy education model will be cultural responsiveness. We believe this is imperative to educating girls of all backgrounds so that they can grow to be secure in their identities and embrace every aspect of who they are.
Meet Our Founders
As a mom of three girls, an educator, and a Nashvillian, I recognize the need for a new educational experience for girls in our community. I don't believe in re-creating the wheel, but I do believe when we see a need, we are purposed to fill it. B.E. Academy will fill the need for comprehensive, culturally relevant, STEAM education for girls in Metro Nashville.
The name of B.E. Academy evolved from my maternal and paternal grandmothers, Blanche, and Effie. My maternal grandmother, Blanche Stevens, was reared in a non-traditional family and then established a traditional family and was married to her husband for fifty years. She was a retired M.N.P.S. teacher, administrator, counselor, and coach. She was a known leader in the Nashville community. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tennessee State University. She served on many committees and in many organizations as well. Blanche was a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
My paternal grandmother, Dr. Effie Green Peoples, learned how to overcome various challenges in a single-headed household while beating the odds as an African-American single parent. She was reared in a traditional family with her parents being married for three decades until the early death of her mother. She obtained an Associate Arts degree in Mental Health Technology from Cuyahoga Community College, a bachelor’s degree from Ursuline College, and a master’s degree in social science administration at Case Western Reserve University. In 2022, she received the Degree of Doctor of Ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio.
Their upbringing and perseverance are inspiring and a remarkable testament to what it looks like to be in the “right place”. Both reflect the wide range of family, life, challenges, and victories unique to the intersectionality of the Black woman/girl experience. I founded B.E. Academy in their honor and I am excited to help usher in a new generation of empowered, resilient and capable girls.
Lydia is a product of both the Ohio and Tennessee school systems. From elementary school to her sophomore year of High School, she attended Barberton City Schools. She relocated to Hendersonville, TN in 2007 finishing her high school career in Sumner County Schools.
Lydia attended Volunteer State Community College for two years. After completing two years in community college, she was offered two scholarships to attend Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, KY. She finished her undergraduate degree at Tennessee State University in 2015.
Lydia comes from a lineage of educators who have inspired and motivated her to continue her career path in education. Her maternal grandparents, Willie and Blanche Stevens, both retired as teachers, counselors, and coaches from Metropolitan Nashville Public School Systems. Her mother is currently a teacher, with an Administrators Endorsement and her father is a professor and dean at American Baptist College.
In 2015, Lydia began her teaching career as a teacher to do her part to close the achievement gaps in Metropolitan Nashville Public School Systems. Seven years later, she is still in the classroom serving as a Middle School Math Teacher. Lydia's students thrive because of her innovative, culturally relevant, project-based approach to teaching. She believes every student has the ability to learn, it's up to us to nurture it within them.
Lydia completed her Masters in Eduction from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2023. She lives in Nashville with her husband Dakari and their three beautiful daughters.
Through most of my middle school years, I struggled with understanding where I fit into the world, let alone where I fit in at school. My daughter is now in middle school and her experience has been the same. Perhaps it's a right of passage. However, our girls and their parents should not have to chart that path alone.
I Co-Founded B.E. Academy because I believe ALL girls should have an opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive in an environment that is safe, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Our girls should be empowered to explore who they are and embrace it unapologetically and without fear or judgement. Our girls deserve an educational experience that prepares them for the future they want for themselves. B.E. Academy is a safe haven for girls, where learning is multi-dimensional, immersive and intentionally designed to address their diverse needs.
It is also important that we address the substantial gap in STEM/STEAM education and careers for women of color. Only 1.8% of Black women are employed in STEM. Positive representation and culturally responsive teaching can help change that.
Arts education helps girls identify their talents, nurture their creativity, and supports their social-emotional and social-cultural health. My grandmother,Ollie Virginia Chambliss, loved to draw and loved the arts but was never able to pursue it. The Ollie Arts Program at B.E. Academy will be launched in her honor.
Supporting girls and young women has been a huge part of my purpose. Although it has been a dream of mine to open a school for girls, I never thought it was really possible. I've learned that possibilities are only limited by our fears and our inability to act. The first lesson our girls will learn as they enter B. E. Academy for the first time is - ANYTHING is possible.
Tanisha "Tee" Wilson is an experienced brand and organizational strategist who has achieved success in marketing and communications, project management, organizational development and comprehensive strategic planning. Her background includes progressive experience and leadership roles across multiple industries, including national non-profits, primary, secondary and higher education, real estate, government, and entrepreneurship.
With over 27 years of experience, Tee brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is unmatched in her field. As Chief Marketing Officer for Black Business Boom - a digital marketing and business development firm on a mission to support Black-owned businesses across the country - Tee spearheads brand development and creative strategy for the firm and its clients. In her role as Director of Admissions for Templeton Academy Nashville, Tee worked to build a school that is inclusive and accessible for children who deserve better options.
Tee is very engaged with social causes and community advocacy. She manages projects for organizations like The John R. Lewis Legacy Institute and she recently co-founded The R.I.S.E. Coalition, a new non-profit on a mission to be a resource and a voice for residents of color in Rutherford County.
Tee serves on the Board of Directors for eMpowerment, Inc. , the American Red Cross Heart of Tennessee Chapter, and Rutherford Cable.. She is also a 2021 Mosaic Fellow graduate and a member of the 2022 Class of Leadership Rutherford. In her spare time Tee enjoys watching documentaries, traveling and spending time with her husband of 25 years Micah, their two children Chase and Carwyn, and their fur-baby Saint Charles..
Board of Directors
Dr. Phyllis Hildreth - Board Chair
Tunisia Scott - Vice-Chair
Karla Frieson - Secretary
Van Pinnock - Treasurer
Lisa McCrady - Community Resources
Lisa Button - Marketing, Communications, Media
Janelle Douglas - Community Outreach
Danielle McGee - Entrepreneurship
Francis King - Legal
DarKenya Waller - Legal
Dr. Aleta Simmons - Health
Senator Charlane Oliver
Nina "Teapot" Owens
Bianca Morton Hughes
Dr. Alisha Reed
Dr. Kelly Poindexter
Interested in being a part of the B.E. story as an advisor, board member,
partner or sponsor? Click below.