Wilkerson Middle School
|Wilkerson Middle School|
|Birmingham City Schools|
|Location||116 11th Court West, (map)|
|Colors||purple & black|
Malachi Wilkerson Middle School (formerly Malachi Wilkerson Elementary School) is a middle school in the Birmingham City Schools system located at 116 11th Court West in the East Thomas neighborhood. It was named after Malachi Wilkerson, choir director and head of manual training at Parker High School.
The elementary school opened in 1957 with 634 students divided between 15 classrooms. The split-level building also had a gymnasium and a lunchroom. The closure of another neighborhood school triggered construction of a major addition to Wilkerson of nine classrooms, a library, and new restrooms, which opened in 1961. Architect Evan Terry designed the addition, which was constructed by Atchison & Atchison at a cost of $150,000.
Wilkerson transitioned from K-8 to a 6-8 middle school in 1989.
A series of educational performance improvements instituted under the leadership of Diane Rivers helped the school earn recognition as the first recipient of the Rochester Institute of Technology/USA Today Quality Cup Award in 1994. When poor reading skills were identified as the underlying obstacle toward learning, a peer tutoring program was implemented that led to test score improvements in all subjects and improved discipline.
When Constance Burnes began her term as principal in 2003, discipline and achievement test scores were well below average. She instituted a system of strict discipline and accountability, including a well-equipped game room provided as a reward for high achievement. She worked closely with teachers to familiarize students with the content and format of the Alabama Reading and Math Test. She also brought in outside instructors to teach life skills, ballroom dancing and drama. The school developed an outdoor classroom with a fish pond, as well.
In 2004 Wilkerson students were temporarily relocated to the former Lincoln Middle School campus while renovations of the building were completed. The updated and expanded school with a new gymnasium, media center, computer lab and office suites opened in October 2006.
Wilkerson was named a "model school" by the International Center for Leadership in Education in 2008.
- John Norman, 1957–1964
- Charles Crowder, 1964–1978
- Clifton Howard, 1978–1989
- Anita Skipwith, 1989–1997
- Barbara McDonald, 1997–1998
- Ruby Smith-McClendon, 1998–2000
- J. J. Watts Jr, 2000–2004
- Constance Burnes, 2004–2014
- Trarsha Maddox (interim), 2014–2015
- Davida Hill-Johnson, 2015–2021
- Bobby Phillips (interim), 2021-2022
- Jennifer Love-Lott, 2022–
- "Schools Adding Near $3 Million In New Facilities" (January 21, 1961) Birmingham Post-Herald - via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections
- Leech, Marie (October 23, 2008) "All work, no play no dice: Wilkerson Middle School's game room keeps grades up, students motivated." The Birmingham News
- Bowser, Edward (August 3, 2015) "Birmingham's Wilkerson Middle School has new mural that highlight's city's civil rights past." The Birmingham News
- Michaels, Ryan (June 22, 2021) "How Wilkerson Middle School’s summer STEM program helps close the learning gap." The Birmingham Times