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Austin ISD Dedicates Bertha Sadler Means YWLA

Austin ISD officials gathered with city, state and community leaders today to dedicate the former Pearce Middle School as the Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy.

Principal Ivette Savina welcomed AISD families and visitors to the campus.

"This dedication marks a milestone in educational excellence," Savina said. "A more courageus woman could not have been chosen as the namesake of our school."

In addition to her years as an AISD teacher, Bertha Sadler Means spent 15 years as an AISD administrator and served as director of Project Head Start for the district, after which she set up and managed a districtwide reading program.

U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett, a friend of Means's for several decades, spoke about her dedication to her community and all that she had accomplished in her work against discrimination and segregation.

"Throughout her life, she's been handed a lot of lemons, and she's made a heck of a lot of lemonade," Doggett said. "When Bertha saw something wrong, she didn't just sit idly by—she demanded change. Now her name inspires other young women."

Means is a founding member of St. James Episcopal Church. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Huston-Tillotson University. In 2011, she was one of the first women to be inducted into the Austin Women’s Hall of Fame. 

"Thank you for making our city a better place for the unity you've inspired," Doggett concluded.