School board members approved the renaming of the Great Falls Academy to Alonzo “Tambua” Moody Academy for Social Change on Wednesday night.
Moody served on the school board from 1991-2007. He is credited with keeping thousands of young people out of prison through a diversionary program. He and his wife Sarah fostered over 100 abused, abandoned, and neglected boys while raising three of their own biological sons, according to the school naming resolution.
“It’s just very humbling,” Moody, 73, said in September, when school board member Emanuel Capers proposed naming the school after him.
Great Falls Academy, which educates troubled students, is housed at the old School 11 on Market Street.
School board members approved the measure without opposition at their monthly meeting. Several members of the Moody family were in the audience.
“He is our hometown hero,” said Capers before the vote. He had difficulty securing support for the measure late last year. At the time, some argued a school board policy requires the honoree to be deceased.
Moody graduated from Paterson Central High School in 1965. He then served in U.S. Air Force from Jan. 1966 through May 1969. Stationed in Hawaii, Moody attended the Honolulu Business College for a year. He earned his bachelor’s degree in metropolitan studies and urban planning in 1976 from Ramapo College, according to the naming resolution.
Moody’s son, Zatiti Moody, is one of the principals of the Great Falls Academy.