Scientist - Ronald E. McNair
Ronald E. McNair Middle School, located at 2190 Wallingford drive, in southwest DeKalb County, is a unit of the DeKalb County School system - one of the largest metropolitan school system in the Georgia Public school network. Located in a quiet residential community, the physical plant was erected in 1958, under the name of Gordon High School.
As Gordon High School, the school went through a number of transitions. Its student and faculty makeup was white from 1958 through 1970. The Black population within the community and the school gradually rose during the early 1970's, and by 1980, had reached ninety-eight percent. This figure remained stable until the phasing out of Gordon High School in 1987.
the nineteen-eighties were not significantly good years for Gordon High School and its nearby neighbor, Walker High School. During this period, many parents and students within the attendance district elected to participate in the "Majority-to-Minority" (M-to-M) program, wherein a child attending a school where his or her race is the majority enrollment may elect to attend a school within the school system where his or her racial enrollment represents a minority of the total population. this significantly and adversely affected the nature of the programs offered at Gordon High School. In some instances, many of the students identified as "high achievers" within elementary school programs elected to participate in the "M-to-M" program once entering high school, thus decreasing the number of students enrolled in advanced course at Gordon.
Declining enrollment at Gordon High School became a major concern, and in the Fall of 1985, a "Task Force" was established by Dr. Melvin Johnson, Area I Assistant Superintendent, "in an attempt to provide a more positive academic and social environment at Gordon and Walker High Schools." This task force was composed of selected members of each local school's faculty and community members, along with designated school system employees representing several departments. The role of the task force was to comprehensively study the existing school programs, identifying areas of strengths and/or weaknesses, and to develop a model plan of improvement which would increase student achievement at Gordon and Walker High Schools.
It was the recommendation of the Task Force that Walker and Gordon High Schools be reorganized as a senior high at the Walker site and a junior high at the Gordon site, to become effective during the 1987-1988 school year. During the interim, the faculty, students, and parents worked diligently with the area assistant superintendent and school system representatives to make the reorganization as meaningful as possible. students and parents were involved in determining the nature of the programs which would be developed at the new junior and senior high schools. Students and parents were given the choice of the selection of a new name for the reorganized facilities, and unanimously chose "Ronald Ervin McNair," a modern Black achiever, a scientist, an astronaut, who dedicated his life to the ;pursuit of excellence. Ronald E. Mcnair would serve as an eternal "role model' to all students who enter the halls of McNair Junior High School.
McNair Junior High School was officially dedicated on October 21, 1987, under the leadership of Mr. Gilbert Turman, Principal, with a commitment toward high academic achievement and a full and enriching learning experience for each student.