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  About The School  

Michigan Avenue Elementary School

Historical Background

     One of the first schools in the Michigan Avenue Community was the Burkett Academy, a noted private school. It was opened immediately following the War Between the States under the leadership of Professor M.H.B. Burkett, a well-known teacher and Methodist Minister. Professor Burkett was the owner and the only instructor at this subscription school.

     Around 1872, after the Burkett Academy closed, the Pirkle School was opened. Mr. E. J. Pirkle built the school and served as teacher for the school and preacher for the church services, both of which were held in the same building. The school was financed through tuition paid by the individuals who attended. Like the Burkett Academy, the Pirkle School was a subscription school.

     During 1880, the Pirkle School building was moved to the northwest intersection of Michigan Avenue Road and Twentieth Street. This served as the school’s location for almost eighty years. Weatherboarding was added to the outside of the logs at a later time. Over a period of years, a frame building was constructed. Succeeding years brought the construction of a two-room brick building and finally, a four-room building was constructed on the site. A gymnasium was erected adjacent to the campus by the Michigan Avenue Community Club members. This was the first gymnasium built in rural Bradley County, and it was shared by other schools. The gymnasium was used for various activities including community fairs.

     As Bradley County’s population grew, so did the Michigan Avenue Community. In 1960, Michigan Avenue School was built on the present site. It consisted of ten classrooms, a cafeteria, a gymnasium with a stage, office space, a library and a utility room. Faculty and students moved into the new facility in January of 1960. The new building allowed the consolidation of students from Michigan Avenue, Chilcutt, Trevena and Chatata Valley Schools.

     The first principal in the consolidated school was Mr. Leon Sheffield. The faculty at this time consisted of Mrs. W.L. Howard, Mrs. T.D. West, Mrs. Ida Kibler, Mr. Lebron Montgomery and Mrs. G.B. Lee.

     The community and school population continued to grow. In the 1976-1977 school year, all seventh and eighth grade students were transferred to the newly-constructed Trewhitt Junior High School. This left Michigan Avenue housing grades one through six.

     In the summer of 1980, the entire school was remodeled, and six new classrooms and a cafeteria were added. This addition enabled two kindergarten classes being housed at Trevena School to become a part of Michigan Avenue School. At this point, Michigan Avenue became a K-6 establishment. During the summer of 1981, four more classrooms and a storage area were added. This expansion served to accommodate the steady growth of the school. Then, in August of 1995, the sixth grades were moved to Trewhitt Elementary, leaving Michigan Avenue housing grades K-5.

   As the Michigan Avenue Community continued to grow, expansion of the school’s facilities appeared inevitable. In March of 1999, another building program was completed.  This added eight new classrooms and an office complex; however, growth continued. The Bradley County Board of Education acquired land adjacent to the school in 2006 for the addition of a parking lot as well as an alternate exit route. To make way for more classroom space, music instruction was offered from a mobile cart which moved from room to room. In 2007, construction and demolition of walls changed a closet into an office for an Instructional Coach. Also, a portable building was added in 2011 which will house the Headstart Pre-school program beginning in the Fall of 2012. As the result of severe storms in April 2011, the gymnasium was destroyed and a new one is currently under construction.

     Principals who have served Michigan Avenue School at its present location include: Leon Sheffield, Aaron Looper, Sam Ledford, Jerry Frazier, David Holloway, Robert Taylor, Dorene Lowery, Sheena Newman, Robert Brittingham and Angela Lawson

     Currently, Robbie Winters serves as principal.


     Michigan Avenue Elementary School is comprised of 23 self-contained, PreK-5 classrooms. Separate facilities exist within the school building to accommodate reading interventions, speech, special education and Title I classes. The building includes a gym for physical education and a stage used for various school functions. The cafeteria consists of a hot food line along with a la carte items and a salad bar. A fully-enclosed library houses approximately 14,000 books. There are two computer labs located on the campus as well, with approximately 50 computers for student use. In conjunction with the main office is the principal’s office and a teacher workroom. The building’s exterior is brick with a covered bus ramp and a circle drive for student pick-up. There are three playground areas, divided to accommodate various grade levels, as well as a kick ball field.