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Success Through Wisdom & Ingenuity...

B.E. Academy will empower our students to transition from dependent learners to independen

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.



Meet Our Founders
Lydia Schumake, CEO
Tee Wilson, CAO

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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.



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.




Board of Directors

Dr. Phyllis Hildreth - Board Chair

Tunisia Scott - Vice-Chair

Karla Frieson - Secretary

Van Pinnock - Treasurer

Dr. Shay Gresham Howard - Education & Community

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

Renata Soto

Nytevea Brownridge

Lee Molette

Herman Hicks

Bianca Morton Hughes 

Dr. Kelly Poindexter 

Tequila Smith

Monique Newson

Interested in being a part of the B.E. story as an advisor, board member,

partner or sponsor? Click below.

Advisory Board

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