What would eventually become the Linda Nolen Learning Center was created in August 1977. The school was originally a large classroom at Shelby County High School, and employed two teachers to serve 10-12 students. After two years of growth, and in need of additional space, the school relocated to the Central Office in 1979 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 for Exceptional Education was rededicated as the Linda Nolen Learning Center in honor of Dr. Linda M. Nolen. Today, the Linda Nolen Learning Center is widely recognized as a leader in the provision of special education services to children with disabilities.
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.
The Linda Nolen Learning Center is located in Pelham in North Shelby County. The school serves students with special needs in self-contained classrooms. Students, ages 3-21 are served in one of three programs: (a) Multi-Disabled program for students ages 5-21 and (b) The Star Program, serving students with severe emotional needs in kindergarten through eighth grade.( c) The Eclipse program serving typical and atypical students ages 3-4.