In the den of her home located in Augusta, Georgia—Rebecca Terrell Dent began a one-room schoolhouse with money she received from her retirement teaching public school in Richmond/Columbia County Georgia. After years of observing children not getting the attention they deserved, Rebecca decided to open her own school. With her retirement money, she purchased a desk to place in her den of her home and began class. Being inspired by Marva Collins of Chicago, Illinois, Mrs. Dent began Southside Preparatory School. Soon, Rebecca’s three-bedroom home grew into a five-room schoolhouse. She and her family moved and she set out to find a building to educate more children. This new site was located on Milledgeville Road. Mrs. Dent educated children in this school’s house for over 12 years. She changed the school’s name from Southside Preparatory to Terrell Visitation Academy after her namesake. Over the years, Terrell has educated thousands of children throughout the CSRA in the heart of downtown Augusta. C.H. Terrell Academy is also the headquarters of the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils.
In recognition of her educational skills, she has received awards from the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies. Mrs. Dent is published in Who’s Who in American Educators and awarded the Community Citizens Award by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She has also received the Tom Joyner Educator of the Year Award. Mrs. Dent is also the Co-Coordinator of a Music Education program created by the daughter of Mrs. Dent for the James Brown Children Foundation (J.A.M.P James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils) and The Tom Joyner Foundation. Students have performed and established connections with musical and political icons throughout the United States such as Aretha Franklin, Prince, Bootsy Collins, Sharon Jones, Rep. John Lewis, Def Leopard, Melba Moore, Al Sharpton, Van Jones, Luke Bryant, Kirk Franklin, Kurtis Blow, and Patricia Lacy. Mrs. Dent is the mother of two girls and the grandmother of two. They all reside in Augusta, GA.