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Atlanta Board of Education Announces School Renaming in Honor of Thomas W. Dortch Jr.

For Immediate Release
Amy Parrish (404) 310-6559
Rob Kremer (404) 218-3077

Atlanta Board of Education Announces School Renaming in Honor of Thomas W. Dortch Jr.
B.E.S.T. Academy at The Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute honors the Atlanta business icon and civic leader

ATLANTA (April 29, 2024) – The Atlanta Board of Education (ABOE) is proud to announce the renaming of B.E.S.T. Academy (Business Engineering Science Technology) to B.E.S.T. Academy at The Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute. This change honors the late Thomas W. Dortch Jr., an esteemed Atlanta business leader, civic icon and former Chairman of the 100 Black Men of America National’s Board of Directors. 

Dortch, who passed away in 2023, was a trailblazer in many fields, including becoming the first Black man to serve as a U.S. Senator's chief administrator. His contributions to the Georgia Democratic Party, the Atlanta Business League, and his founding of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame are celebrated through this dedication.

The school, a STEM-certified institution serving sixth through 12th-grade boys in the Carey Park area, has partnered with 100 Black Men of Atlanta. This organization is dedicated to enhancing educational and economic opportunities for African-American youth, aligning closely with Dortch’s lifelong mission.

In April 2023, ABOE Board Member, now Chair, Erika Mitchell announced the formation of a renaming committee for B.E.S.T. Academy in an effort to honor the late Thomas W. Dortch Jr. B.E.S.T Academy Principal Dr. Timothy Jones led the community survey results. A majority of faculty members (85.7 percent) supported the renaming to B.E.S.T. Academy at Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute with 48.5 percent of students in favor. In response to these results, the committee adopted the proposed name to include “Institute,” reflecting Dortch's legacy's educational and aspirational aspects. The final recommendation, B.E.S.T Academy at the Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute, will be presented for approval to the Atlanta Board of Education on May 6.

Members of the BEST Academy Renaming Committee include:

●      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)

"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,” Mitchell said. “The academy has such a great legacy, and Mr. Dortch is the perfect individual and trailblazer to bestow this honor.”

Dortch was a husband, father, businessman, and civic leader who believed in uplifting our communities all across the world. He was willing to set aside any differences if it was of benefit to the greater good. He often said he wanted to leave this earth empty, and he did just that. Leaving a blueprint to strengthen our youth and community, says Carol Dortch, his widow, and Thomas (Trey) W. Dortch III, his son.

"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," Jones said.

“Tommy W. Dortch Jr. was a life changer. Now, an institution in his name will be changing lives for the foreseeable forever,” Hope Bryant said. “This name change will also be life-changing, just like Tommy.”

“Dortch’s legacy includes his work supporting education and mentorship in Atlanta and beyond. His leadership will be recognized for generations to come with the B.E.S.T Academy at the Thomas W. Dortch Jr. Institute,” 100 Black Men of America Mentor of the Year Award Recipient Hill said. 

Established in 2007 by Atlanta Public Schools, the B.E.S.T Academy was founded on research highlighting distinct learning techniques between males and females. The school utilizes teaching strategies specifically tailored to align with the general learning styles of male students, ensuring an educational environment that fosters effective learning and engagement.

To learn more about The Atlanta Board of Education, please visit Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or For more information about the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and 100 Black Men of America, please visit and

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About The Atlanta Board of Education 

The Atlanta Board of Education establishes and approves the policies that govern the Atlanta Public Schools system. The Board consists of nine members, representing six geographical districts and three “at-large” districts. One person is elected per district to represent the schools in a given district for a four-year term. To learn more about The Atlanta Board of Education, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or

 About Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 87 learning sites, including 59 neighborhood schools, five partner schools, 19 charter schools, two citywide single-gender academies, and two alternative programs. To learn more about Atlanta Public Schools, follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or

About 100 Black Men

The overall concept of “The 100” began in 1963 in New York City when a group of concerned African American men began to meet to explore ways of improving conditions in their community. These visionaries included businessmen and industry leaders such as David Dinkins, Robert Mangum, Dr. William Hayling, Nathaniel Goldston III, Livingston Wingate, Andrew Hatcher, and Jackie Robinson. On October 2, 1986, representatives from 100 Black Men Chapters converged in Washington, DC, for a final meeting to establish a national organization. During previous meetings, they determined the structure, governance and model that would provide the most effective physical and financial resources to support the communities and Chapters. At the final gathering, the organization’s name – 100 Black Men of America, Inc. – was unveiled and attendees elected four accomplished, professional men from within their ranks to serve as its first and founding officers. Each of the four were selected based on their demonstrated commitment to give back in a holistic way that addressed the educational, social, emotional, and cultural needs of youth in their own communities. They put their hands to the plow and did the hard work necessary to establish a foundation for a network of Chapters in their infancy, which today is an international nonprofit organization that positively impacts more than 125,000 youth across the United States and abroad. Throughout our history, the leadership of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. has been impeccable. The men chosen as national leaders all have contributed to the growth and strength of the organization. Their unique contributions have helped The 100 to become one of the premiere mentoring organizations anywhere. Consider the impact each leader has made. On May 27, 1987, in Atlanta, Georgia, this newly formed mentoring organization held its first national conference and introduced itself to the nation. Noted speakers included the late Alex P. Haley and the late Honorable Maynard H. Jackson. The vision of 100 Black Men of Atlanta is to become the city’s strongest, most self-reliant African American volunteer organization focused on education, enrichment and empowerment. A non-profit organization, The 100 provides college preparatory services and mentorship to at-risk Atlanta youth. Civic-minded members dedicate their time and talent as mentors to help boys and girls break the cycles of poverty, under-achievement and violence that plague their communities, thus enabling them to seek their highest potential.