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17 April 2003

Lifelong Educator Honored by School Naming


Ft. Worth, TX -- Congratulations to Mrs. Harlean Beal, recently immortalized in Texas State education history by having the school where she was principal for so many years renamed to Harlean Berry Beal Elementary School. The citizens of the community mounted a grass-roots campaign and collected enough signatures to petition the school board to make the change--a rare honor for someone still alive.

Mrs. Beal served as principal of the school, formerly known as Forest Hill Elementary School, from 1984 to 1996. She is credited with increasing parental involvement 500%, leading parents and teachers to write foundation proposals which added $207,000 to the school budget for fine arts and technology programs for students; promoting TAAS performances often above the state level; and establishing partnerships between the school and community businesses and nearby Tarrant county Junior College.

One of her students said, "I remember the day Mrs. Beal kept her promise. She challenged, 'If you will read 5,000 books in one month, I'll move my office up on the school roof.' We bested her challenge and read 7,250 books. She went up on the roof February 28, 1994, a day I'll never forget."


Harlean L. Berry Beal, daughter of Henry and Acquilla Berry is a native of Corsicana,TX and a graduate of Bishop College and Texas Woman's University. She served in the Fort Worth Independent School District as musical educator and school principal for more than 40 years.

Upon the announcement of her retirement, a secret community campaign was launched to gain the approval of the Board of Education to rename Forest Hill Elementary to Harlean Berry Beal Elementary School. The school was renamed, June 11, 1996.

Mrs. Beal won numerous awards, the most recent being the 1997 State of Texas Legislative Black Caucus Outstanding Texan Award in the area of education as has her husband Gerald K. Beal for his endeavors in athletics and education. Recently they were awarded Outstanding African American Couple. They have two children; a son, Ronald Keith Beal, and daughter, Dr. Cheryl Beal Anderson, and two grandchildren, Brittani Paige Anderson and Joshua Kenneth Anderson.

Mrs. Beal, a member of East Saint Paul Baptist Church, has now channeled her energies to the erection of an educational building for the youth of her church and future generations as her continued service to the community. Mrs. Beal serves as Minister of Christian Education at East St. Paul. In addition, Mrs. Beal is a consultant to the Fort Worth Independent School District for developing a Leadership Academy for school principals. Upon her retirement, Mrs. Beal renewed her interest in duplicate bridge, which led to her first national tournament in Detroit in 1999. She is the Secretary for Tarrant County Duplicate Bridge.

Mrs. Beal with husband Mr. Gerald Kenneth Beal,
also a retired educator in the Ft. Worth Independent School District

Other community service organizations where she has held membership include: Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Fort Worth Chapter of Links, Inc., Onyx Reading Ensemble, Texas Choral Directors vice President for Elementary Division, Texas Music Educators Association Regional Chairperson, P.T.A. Life Membership and Texas Elementary Principals Association.