The Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy community celebrated the groundbreaking of a full campus modernization May 21.

What happened

The groundbreaking included remarks from students, Principal De'Sean Roby, Austin ISD Superintendent Matias Segura, board member Candace Hunter and former board member Cheryl Bradley. Students recited their school affirmation and performed a dance before ceremoniously taking a shovel to “break ground.”

“While this campus has been helping students achieve incredible things since the beginning, I think we can all agree it's time that the building itself reflects the legacy of greatness and the incredible example that Bertha Sadler Means sets for all of us,” Roby said in her remarks May 21.
Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy students perform a dance to celebrate the start of construction on the school May 21. (Elle Bent/Community Impact)
The details

Sadler Means is one of three AISD schools that have recently broken ground to become fully modernized, meaning the current buildings will be deconstructed to make way for more secure schools.

The effort is funded by a 2022 bond, passed by AISD voters in November 2022, totaling $2.44 billion. The Sadler Means project budget is about $102 million, said Michael Mann, AISD executive director for construction management.

The school was named after civil rights activist and educator Bertha Sadler Means in 2014 when it transitioned from Pearce Middle School to the all-girls academy.

“To my Windsor Park neighbors: sorry about the construction,” Hunter said May 21. “But, we are building great things here. As our superintendent says, we are in the 'Forever Business,' and that is what is happening, starting today.”
(From left) Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy students, Austin ISD Superintendent Matias Segura, Sadler Means Principal De'Sean Roby and AISD board member Candace Hunter hold shovels at the groundbreaking ceremony for Sadler Mean's modernization project May 21. (Elle Bent/Community Impact)
What’s next

The over 300 Sadler Means students will remain on campus but in portables away from the construction.

Over the summer, the portables will be installed by the start of the next school year. Safety features for students will include security fencing and secure entry points, Mann said.

The total project is anticipated to be open for students and staff in January 2026.

“It is a disruption to move in [to portables],” Mann said. “We thank the school, the students, the staff and the community for working with us on the best solution for students.”