Linda Nolen Learning Center

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Linda Nolen Learning Center
Established 1977
School type Public
District Shelby County Schools
Grades K-12
Principal Michele Shepherd
Enrollment [[List of high schools by enrollment|]] ()
Location 2280 Highway 35

Linda Nolen Learning Center is a special needs school in the Shelby County School System located in Pelham. The center serves students aged 3-21 with special needs in self-contained classrooms. The students are served in one of three programs.

The center was founded in August 1977, utlizing a large classroom at Shelby County High School, and employed two teachers to serve 10-12 students. The school relocated in 1979 to the Central Office in Columbiana and became known as the Center for Exceptional Children. The school employed four teachers and expanded to four classrooms, serving approximately 25 students. The school continued to grow, and in April 1990 relocated to the renovated Thompson High School facility in Alabaster. On March 9, 1997, the center was rededicated as the Linda Nolen Learning Center in honor of Dr Linda Nolen, the center's first principal and strong advocate for the disabled. The school was relocated to Pelham in 2012 after Alabaster split off from Shelby County to form its own school district.

The Linda Nolen Learning Center has received special recognition from the Alliance of Invitational Schools, and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The United States Department of Agriculture also presented its “Best Practices Award” for the outstanding food and Nutrition Service and exemplary commitment to accommodating students with special needs.


  • Multi-Disabled Program, for students ages 5-21
  • The Star Program, serving students with severe emotional needs in kindergarten through eighth grade
  • The Eclipse Program, serving typical and atypical students ages 3-4

In June 2013, the center was the lone school in the Shelby County system to be named to a state-wide list of "failing schools" in compliance with the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013. School board superintendent Randy Fuller defended the school, stating that the students enrolled at the center recieve specialized care and attention, and that most students are enrolled at the school willingly by their parents. Being included on the list will allow students to receive vouchers to attend other non-failing public and private schools.


  • Reed, Martin J. (June 18, 2013) "Shelby County's Linda Nolen Learning Center appears on failing schools list." The Birmingham News

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