B.E.S.T. Academy at The Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute will honor the Atlanta business icon and civic leader

The Atlanta Board of Education voted unanimously to rename B.E.S.T. Academy, in honor of the late Atlanta business leader Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., to B.E.S.T. Academy at The Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute. This vote came after waiving the first read for the Board to vote on the motion on Tuesday.

The renaming came after the formation of a committee convened in April 2023 to honor the iconic businessman. After a community survey, 85.7 percent of the faculty supported renaming B.E.S.T. Academy, and 48.5 percent of students were in favor. The committee adopted the final name recommendation as B.E.S.T. Academy at the Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute, which was approved Tuesday night at the APBOE meeting.

“The renaming committee’s dedicated efforts culminated in a meaningful transformation as B.E.S.T. Academy proudly emerges as B.E.S.T. Academy at The Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute, continuing an era of educational excellence while honoring the illustrious legacy of a true visionary,” Principal, Tim Jones said.

Dortch, who passed away in 2023, was the former Chairman of the 100 Black Men of America’s National Board of Directors and founded the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.

In a press release, Board Chair Erika Mitchell said, “The renaming of B.E.S.T. Academy celebrates a man who profoundly impacted his community and the nation, and it promises to inspire future generations of leaders. The academy has such a great legacy, and Mr. Dortch is the perfect individual and trailblazer to bestow this honor.”

B.E.S.T. Academy serves male students in sixth through Twelfth grades and was founded in 2007 by the Atlanta Board of Education in an effort to align the learning styles of male students. Now, the B.E.S.T. Academy at Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. Institute has partnered with 100 Black Men of Atlanta to continue providing opportunities for African American youth.

Members of the BEST Academy Renaming Committee included:

  • Erika Mitchell, Chair of the Atlanta Board of Education and District Five Representative
  • Dustin Hillis, Atlanta City Council District Three Representative
  • Dr. Timothy Jones, Principal of The B.E.S.T. Academy
  • Andrew Anderson, Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU-G) Representative
  • John Hope Bryant, from Operation Hope (Community Partner)
  • Jewell Grubbs, Community Stakeholder
  • Kenneth Hill, from LaunchPad Foundation (Community Partner)

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