Jefferson County Schools (Alabama)

The Jefferson County School System is the second-largest public school system in Alabama. It is the third oldest school system in Jefferson County preceded only by the Birmingham and Bessemer School Systems. The Jefferson County School System was created in 1896, and initially served all unincorporated communities and cities in the county other than Birmingham and Bessemer. Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s various other cities began to establish their own separate systems (i.e., Homewood, Midfield, Vestavia Hills, Hoover, etc.). Today the County system serves students in those unincorporated areas of Jefferson County, Alabama such as Alliance, Bagley, Concord, Corner, Forestdale, McCalla, Minor, Mt. Olive, and Oak Grove. It also includes students who reside in the cities of Adamsville, Clay, Fultondale, Gardendale, Graysville, Hueytown, Irondale, Kimberly, Morris, Pinson, Pleasant Grove, and Warrior among others. Those cities listed below each have a city-based school system, therefore, their students do not attend schools in the Jefferson County School System:

Jefferson County School District
Birmingham, Alabama

United States
Coordinates33°29′15.42″N 86°47′38.59″W / 33.4876167°N 86.7940528°W / 33.4876167; -86.7940528Coordinates: 33°29′15.42″N 86°47′38.59″W / 33.4876167°N 86.7940528°W / 33.4876167; -86.7940528
District information
MottoThe mission of the Jefferson County School System is to ensure rigorous learning for all through engaging, innovative instruction, responsible resource management, and meaningful community and family collaboration focused on student success.
Established1896 (1896)
SuperintendentWalter Gonsoulin (interim)
Budget$394.8 million[1]
NCES District ID0101920[2]
Students and staff
Other information

Current Board Members, Responsibilities, and ElectionEdit

The system is presided over by the elected Jefferson County Board of Education which is responsible for setting school policy, adoption of an annual operating budget, and broad issues usually dealt with by most school boards, such as construction of new schools, etc. The Board also relies on the guidance of the Superintendent in the making of many of those decisions. the work of the Board is financed by appropriations from the Alabama Legislature and a series of property taxes some of which are "district wide" and some of which are "county wide" in nature, plus the proceeds of a 1 cent sales tax.

The Board consists of five members elected by Place Number in partisan elections for six year terms. While these races are usually decided in the respective party primaries almost none of the work or decisions of the Board are of a partisan nature. There is no limitation on the number of terms to which a member can be elected. Four of the five members (Places 1-4) are elected only by the voters of the areas actually served by the school board. The fifth member (Place 5) is elected collectively only by the voters of the 11 cities that have their own school systems. This configuration is mandated by State law.[3] When vacancies occur during a term the remaining members of the Board have the power to appoint someone to the post for the remainder of the unexpired term. Two of the current members came to office in this manner when Ronnie Dixon was appointed to replace Dean Taylor, Jr. who died in office and Carita Venable replaced Jacqueline Smith who resigned. Officers of the board are elected for one-year terms from the five members. The immediate past President of the Board is Oscar Mann. The current President is Ronnie Dixon who was elected to the post in November, 2019.

The current Board members, their party affiliation, and the designated Place Number when they appear on the ballot are as follows:

Name Party Affiliation First Elected Next Election Ballot Position
Donna J. Pike Republican 2016 2022 Place 1
Eddie Brown Republican 2018 2024 Place 2
Oscar S. Mann Republican 2012 2024 Place 3
Ronnie Dixon Republican (1) 2020 Place 4
Carita Venable Democrat (2) 2022 Place 5

(1) Dixon was appointed to the Board in May, 2016. (2) Venable was appointed to the Board in February, 2019.

Past Board Members (Partial List)Edit

Many different men and women have served on the Board over the years. For most of the Board's history all its members were Democrats until the election of Republican Jim Hicks in 1980. After Mr. Hicks election the Board transitioned to a Republican majority over the next few election cycles. It has remained with a Republican majority ever since. Three African-Americans have served on the Board including the present Board member, Carita Venable. Previously, Martha Bouyer, and Jacqueline Smith served with Mrs. Smith being the first African-American to be elected as Board President.[4] Below is a partial listing of past members:

  • William A. Berry (D)
  • Carl R. Bottenfield (D)
  • Martha V. J. Bouyer (D) (2014-2018)
  • Roy F. Bragg (D)
  • Jack Brymer (D)
  • Mary M. Buckelew (R)
  • Jack M. Dabbs (D)
  • Robert L. "Bob" Ellis, Jr.(D)
  • Randall Goodwin (D) (1978-1984)
  • Belva Green (R)
  • Owen G. Gresham (D)
  • Robert Gwin (D)
  • Mrs. Robert (Harriette) Gwin (D)
  • Jim R. Hicks (R) (1980-1992)
  • W. A. Jenkins, Jr. (D)
  • L. E. Kirby (D)
  • Joseph E. Lacey (D)
  • Tommy Little
  • Bill Mewbourne (D) (1984-1986)
  • Karen Smith Nix (R) (retired 2012)
  • Jennifer Hatcher Parsons (R) (1998-2016)
  • W. I. Pittman (D)
  • Ronald Rhodes (R) (2000-2013)
  • George M. Rogers (D)
  • George Rudd (D)
  • Jacqueline A. Smith (D) (1986-2018)
  • Jeffrey Dean Taylor, Jr. (R) (2014-2016)
  • Kevin Walsh (R)


Day-to-day operations of the system are run by the superintendent. That post is filled by appointment by a majority vote of the County Board of Education and that individual serves at the pleasure of the Board. The most recent superintendent was Dr. Craig Pouncey,[5] who took over in June 2014, following the ouster of Dr. Stephen Nowlin after 16 months in office.[6] On September 11, 2019, it was announced that Dr. Pouncey had accepted the Presidency of Coastal Alabama Community College, effective October 1, 2019 and would leave his post with Jefferson County on September 27. Dr. Walter Gonsoulin, Jr., the Deputy Superintendent became Interim Superintendent on September 27, 2019 and was given the position permanently by the Board in November, 2019, becoming the first African-American to be permanent Superintendent.

The first Superintendent of Jefferson County was Isaac Wellington McAdory from 1896–1913. In 1868, shortly after The Civil War and long before the County System existed, he and his wife, Alice (Sadler) McAdory, established and ran the Pleasant Hill Academy in McCalla.[7] It was arguably the first education institution in Jefferson County preceding both the Birmingham and Bessemer systems and even predating any colleges or universities in the county. The Pleasant Hill Academy is the forerunner of present-day McAdory High School. The first seven superintendents of the system all had schools named in their honor. However, McNeil School no longer exists and Simmons Elementary is now part of the Hoover School System. Issac Wellington McAdory is the only Superintendent who has three separate schools named in his honor which may be more of a coincidence than a deliberate effort.

Superintendents Years of Service
Isaac W. McAdory[7]
P. M. McNeil
N. R. Baker
Eugene B. Erwin
John E. Bryan
Ira F. Simmons
Kermit A. Johnson
J. Revis Hall
John J. Hunt
William E. Burkett
Herb A. Sang
Bruce Wright
Bobby Neighbors
Roger Tomberlin (interim)
Phil Hammonds
Stephen Nowlin
Bobby Neighbors (interim)
W. Craig Pouncey
Walter Gonsoulin, Jr.

List of current schoolsEdit

High schoolsEdit

The Jefferson County School District includes the following fourteen high schools. Data on enrollment, student-teacher ratio, and graduation rate are all drawn from the 2013–14 academic year.

School Location Enrollment






Avg. ACT Score[10] Athletics[11]
Center Point High School Center Point 841 15:1 86% 18 6A
Clay-Chalkville High School Clay 1,333 18:1 86% 21 6A
Corner High School Corner 521 16:1 95% 24 5A
Fultondale High School (2) Fultondale 322 11:1 73% 24 3A
Gardendale High School Gardendale 1,095 19:1 90% 24 6A
Hueytown High School Hueytown 1,113 18:1 88% 22 6A
Jefferson County IB School Irondale 363 17:1 100% 30 ---
McAdory High School McCalla 975 19:1 92% 21 6A
Minor High School Adamsville 1,003 15:1 83% 20 6A
Mortimer Jordan High School Kimberly 751 17:1 95% 24 5A
Oak Grove High School (1) Bessemer 501 13:1 84% 24 4A
Pinson Valley High School Pinson 1,028 20:1 83% 22 6A
Pleasant Grove High School (2) Pleasant Grove 548 15:1 95% 22 5A
Shades Valley High School Irondale 1,348 16:1 93% 22 6A

(1) Oak Grove is a combined Middle and High School campus containing grades 6–12.

(2) Both Pleasant Grove and Fultondale are combined Middle and High School campus containing grades 7–12.

Middle schoolsEdit

  • Bagley Junior High School
  • Erwin Middle School
  • Minor Middle School (formerly C. R. Bottenfield Junior High School)
  • Bragg Middle School
  • Brighton Middle School
  • Clay-Chalkville Middle School
  • Hueytown Middle School (formerly W. I. Pittman Junior High School)
  • Irondale Middle School
  • North Jefferson Middle School
  • Rudd Middle School
  • McAdory Middle School

Elementary schoolsEdit

  • Adamsville Elementary School
  • Brookville Elementary School
  • Bryan Elementary School
  • Center Point Elementary School
  • Chalkville Elementary School
  • Clay Elementary School
  • Concord Elementary School
  • Crumly Chapel Elementary School
  • Erwin Elementary School
  • Fultondale Elementary School
  • Gardendale Elementary School
  • Greenwood Elementary School (was Greenwood Junior High School 1959-1966)
  • Gresham Elementary School
  • Hillview Elementary School
  • Hueytown Elementary School
  • Johnson Elementary School
  • Lipscomb Elementary School
  • McAdory Elementary School
  • Mount Olive Elementary School
  • North Highland Elementary School
  • Oak Grove Elementary School (K-5)
  • Pinson Elementary School
  • Pleasant Grove Elementary School
  • Snow Rogers Elementary School
  • Warrior Elementary School
  • West Jefferson Elementary School

Community schoolsEdit

  • Corner Schools
  • Grantswood Community School
  • Irondale Community School
  • Minor Community School

Former schools (Partial List)Edit

With the passage of years many former schools in the Jefferson County School System completely ceased to exist. This is to be expected in a system that is over 100 years old. Most were established by the County Board of Education, yet some were first established by a local community or were built as "company schools" and ceded to the County System at a later date. Other schools have seen their names changed or been sold or ceded to some of the other municipal systems. This occurs for a variety of reasons some of which are demographic changes, de-segregation orders, obsolete facilities, etc. Many of these campuses are gone without a trace and a few have been re-purposed to other uses. This list does not include former school buildings at different sites for institutions that still exist under the same name such as Shades Valley High School (2 different campuses); Hueytown High School (3 different campuses); Minor High School (2 campuses), etc. The list does include schools whose names and/or locations have changed such as Berry High School (now Hoover High School) or New Castle High School (now Fultondale High School).

High Schools (Partial List)Edit

Name of High School Location Years Additional Notes
Alliance High School Alliance community (1920-1930)
W. A. Berry High School near City of Hoover, Old Columbiana Road (1959-1988) converted to Berry Middle School (Hoover System), sold to Vestavia Board of Education (2016)
Brighton High School City of Brighton (1941-1989) closed and abandoned
E.B. Erwin High School Center Point (1964-2010) replaced by Center Point High School; was a Middle School from 1957-1964 and again from 2011-present
Gilmore-Bell Vocational High School present day City of Hueytown Demolished, vacant and overgrown property at 4933 Bessemer-Johns Road
Hooper City High School present day City of Birmingham (1947-1965) all black school
Jones Valley High School City of Birmingham (1921-1988) closed, Demolished, site now is Jones Valley Middle School (Birmingham System)
New Castle High School City of Fultondale (1965-1972) renamed Fultondale High School after 1972
Robert R. Moton High School City of Leeds (1948-1970) all black school; closed when system was desegregated; Moton Community Ctr. since 2012
Powderly High School present day City of Birmingham (1940-1946) all black school
Rosedale High School present day City of Homewood closed in 1969 all black school, closed when system was desegregated
Shades Cahaba High School present day City of Homewood (1921-1948) building still exists as Shades Cahaba Elementary School (Homewood System)
Warrior High School City of Warrior (1926-2002) closed, building still exists
West Jefferson High School City of West Jefferson (1923-2000) building still exists, serves as West Jefferson City Hall and community center
Westfield High School present day City of Birmingham (Tin Mill Road) (1933-1971) all black school; closed when system desegregated; Demolished 1973; Willie Mays was a graduate

Other Schools (Partial List)Edit

Name Location Years Additional Notes
Addison Elementary School Bessemer (Morgan Rd & Hwy 150) (1914-1980s) all black school, building abandoned but still exists
Alley School Birmingham (Elyton community) (1902-1964) ceded to Birmingham after the 1910 municipal consolidation
Alliance Elementary Alliance community abandoned building still exists
Dixie Junior High School Minor community closed in 1970 replaced by Bottenfield Jr. High (1971) and renamed Minor Middle School (2016)
Dolomite Elementary site in present-day City of Hueytown (Dolomite neighborhood) Demolished (vacant lot on Pleasant Grove Road)
Graysville Junior High School City of Graysville closed in 1980s building now owned by City of Graysville
Greenwood School Greenwood community (within City of Bessemer)(5012 Roselyn Rd) (1937-1966) ceded to Bessemer School System in 1966, still operates in Bessemer System, served grades 1-9 through 1959
Greenwood Junior High School Greenwood community (1217 School Rd) (1959-1966) since 1966 the building has been Greenwood Elementary of the Jefferson County system
Hall-Kent Elementary present day City of Homewood (west Homewood) (1927-1970) ceded to Homewood School System in 1970
Ishkooda Elementary
Johns Elementary near City of North Johns
Ketona Elementary
Ketona Junior High School near Tarrant City
Majestic Elementary City of Morris
McDonald Chapel Elementary
McNeil School[12] site in present-day City of Bessemer (1923-1989) (grades 1-8), Demolished in 1998, site today is McNeil Park
Mineral Springs Elementary Mt. Olive
Mulga Elementary
Pinson School (Old Rock School) 4509 Pinson Blvd, Pinson (1921-1980s) building still exists, now is Pinson Public Library as of Jan., 2019)
Raimund Elementary present day City of Bessemer
Red Ore Elementary Bessemer (1917-1970s) (all black school) originally built by Woodward Coal Company
Roosevelt Elementary
Joseph N. Rutledge Elementary present day City of Midfield ceded to Midfield School System after 1970
Sandusky Elementary closed mid 1980s today is Sandusky Community Center
Shannon Elementary present day City of Homewood (Shannon neighborhood) closed in 1970s
Sylvan Springs Elementary City of Sylvan Springs building today serves as a Community Center located on Rock Creek Road
Trafford Elementary
Virginia Mines School site in present-day City of Hueytown closed 1950s (grades 1-6) Demolished (site is now part of a housing subdivision)
Booker T. Washington Elementary present day City of Birmingham (Titusville) (1904-2007) (all black school) ceded to Birmingham after 1910 municipal consolidation, Demolished 2007
Wenonah School Brownsville community 1917-2007 (all black school)(grades 1-9); built as a "company owned" school, later ceded to Jefferson County, transferred to B'ham system (1974)
Wilkes School present day City of Midfield (grades 1-8), ceded to Midfield School System after 1970, building still exists
Woodward Elementary present day City of Birmingham
Rosa Zinnerman Elementary City of Hueytown closed, abandoned but still exists

Failing schoolsEdit

Statewide testing ranks the schools in Alabama. Those in the bottom six percent are listed as "failing." As of early 2018, both Center Point and Minor High Schools were included in this category.[13]


  1. ^ National Center for Education Statistics. CCD Public school district data for the 2012–2013, 2013–2014 school years
  2. ^ "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Jefferson County". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  3. ^ Alabama Act No. 646, Ala. Code Section 45-37-100(a)
  4. ^ The North Jefferson News, article by Robert Carter, Nov. 19, 2015
  5. ^ Carter, Robert (June 14, 2014). "Craig Pouncey selected as new Jefferson County Schools superintendent". The North Jefferson News.
  6. ^ Carter, Robert (May 6, 2014). "Jefferson County Schools moves Nowlin to consultant's job, ending term as superintendent". The North Jefferson News. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Robert Walker, McAdory School Reunion Committee (1988)
  8. ^ a b National Center for Education Statistics. Common Core of Data, Public school data 2012–2013, 2013–2014 school years.
  9. ^ "2014 Graduation Rates by School and District". Alabama School Connection. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "Jefferson County Schools – Alabama – Niche". K-12 School Rankings and Reviews at Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  11. ^ "AHSAA School Classification 2014–16" (PDF).
  12. ^ Ester Caine Towers article on website of Hueytown Historical Society
  13. ^ "Failing Alabama public schools: 75 on newest list, most are high schools". AL.COM. January 25, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2018.

External linksEdit