History of MSCS - The Early Years

  • The City of Muscle Shoals was incorporated in 1924.  There was only one school in town at that time and it was operated by the county.

    The Muscle Shoals School system was founded in 1958.  Mr. James F. Moore, Jr. was employed to serve as the first school superintendent beginning March 27, 1958.  Eight teachers were employed in July of 1958, and since the construction of a school had not yet been completed, the school system opened in Woodward Avenue Baptist Church. By October/November of 1958,  Muscle Shoals Junior High School (currently named Highland Park Elementary School) was completed and occupied. The new school system ended the first year with 411 students. Since the new school was overcrowded within the first year of operation, an additional 10 classrooms were added and occupied by February 1960.

    In 1959, the former Howell Graves School building (which currently houses the system's administrative offices) was purchased from the Colbert County Board of Education.  Classes began in this building in the fall of 1959. Enrollment continued to increase rapidly.  Webster Elementary School was added in 1960. Muscle Shoals High School was added in 1962 with a ten classroom addition in 1963.  In February 1962, Durrell Mock was employed as the first head football coach. Donald R. Heidorn was employed as the first Head Basketball Coach in June 1962. Portable classrooms had to be purchased to alleviate crowded conditions. In 1965, Charles Stratford was employed as the first band director.  In 1970, a new high school was completed and occupied. Junior high students attended Avalon Middle School (the former high school).  The Muscle Shoals Area Vocational School was added in 1977.

    In September of 1969, Superintendent Moore, became ill, and Mr. Alvin Parker was named as acting superintendent until March 1, 1970, at which time Donald R. Heidorn (former high school principal) was named as the second Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent.  Mr. Parker resumed his role as Assistant Superintendent. Mr. Moore died in September of 1970.  A lasting tribute was paid to Mr. Moore on September 17, 1971, when the beautiful stadium he helped to create was dedicated as "The James F. Moore Stadium."

    Education continued to be a priority for residents of the small town of Muscle Shoals. The first curriculum guide for the system was written in May 1974.

    Howell Graves Preschool, a school built to house the system's kindergarten program, was opened in 1990. In 1999, a new state of the art high school was built.  Middle school students moved to the existing high school, and a newly formed school, McBride Elementary School, occupied the former middle school site.  

    Through the years, many superintendents, teachers, and other employees have contributed to the accomplishments achieved by the once small school system formed in 1958.  The system which began with just a few educators who had extraordinary vision, wisdom, and knowledge are part of a rich heritage that continues to be a great source of pride to Muscle Shoals students, employees, and the entire community.