Clifton Middle School Now Clifton Academy

Clifton Middle School Now Clifton Academy
Posted on 07/12/2023

LOW MOOR — The former Clifton Middle School building has a new name — Clifton Academy.

The Alleghany Highlands Public School Division Board unanimously approved the name change on Thursday, July 7. The board met for its 2023-2024 organizational meeting. Jacob Wright of Alleghany County was re-elected chair. Jonathan Arritt of Covington will continue to serve as vice chair.

The school board approved the renaming of Clifton Middle School after it discussed the topic as an addendum to its meeting agenda. The Clifton Academy name was presented to the board by AHPS’ new supervisor of specialized learning, Cindy Fox. In her new role, Fox will be based at Clifton Academy. The renaming of the building had been discussed in staff meetings involving AHPS administrators.

The Clifton Academy name will eliminate potential confusion with Covington Middle School and reflect AHPS’ important historical ties to Clifton Forge. Students in grades 6-8 will attend Covington Middle School (the former Covington High School) in the fall, and some people in the community are already calling Covington Middle School “CMS.” Clifton Middle School was also commonly known as “CMS.” 

“We feel the name change will help give Covington Middle School its own identity. It will also honor the important role of Clifton Forge in the Alleghany Highlands,” said Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson, leaders of AHPS.

In a move related to Clifton Academy, AHPS’ Turning Point program has been renamed CLASS, which stands for Customized Learning Academy for Secondary Students. CLASS will be housed in a portion of Clifton Academy, and it will be overseen by Fox. Plans are being made to provide expanded services to a variety of students through CLASS.

“Cindy is excited to be in her new position with AHPS, and we can't wait to see what is in store for our students who will be part of CLASS,” Halterman and Snead-Johnson said. 

“The school board is very excited about all of the new opportunities presented by Clifton Academy and CLASS.  Learning opportunities and styles are ever changing and we know that this new program and facility, led by Mrs. Fox, will be of great benefit to our entire system. I can’t wait to see what comes of it!” said Jacob Wright, chair of the AHPS Board.

The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was created through the July 1, 2022, merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. With approximately 2,700 students, AHPS is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. 

AHPS news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools, and the division website

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