Why did Drs. Smethurst and Burdette choose to honor Benjamin Franklin in the school's name?
Many people have asked us over the years why we named the school after Benjamin Franklin. We saw Ben Franklin as symbolic of meaningful work and of the American Dream. Franklin personified the love of learning, but learning, as functional to life, not just as an ornament. He also was symbolic of innovation, science, and community.
In addition to their teaching experience at the Emory Reading Center and Catch-Up School,
Dr. Smethurst and Dr. Burdette had realized that there was an unmet need in the Atlanta area for a non-profit mainstream school that offered quality individualized instruction in a caring, informally progressive setting, specifically devoted to students who wanted to succeed. Ben Franklin Academy was founded to meet this need.
The school was incorporated as an independent, non-profit school in November, 1987, and officially opened in June, 1988, with 12 students enrolled in its summer program. Through the last thirty-two years, Ben Franklin Academy has increased its enrollment to approximately 125 students a year. Since its founding, BFA has graduated over 1300 students. The school was accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), now AdvancEd, in 1994 and was reaccredited in 1999, 2004, 2010, and 2015.