A.J. Moore Academy

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Coordinates: 31°33′50″N 97°08′01″W / 31.5638°N 97.1336°W / 31.5638; -97.1336

A.J. Moore Academy Magnet High School
A. J. Moore Academy (logo).jpg
500 N.University Parks Drive Waco, TX 76701

United States
TypePublic Magnet
MottoMoore for your future!
School districtWaco ISD
PrincipalMrs. Angela Reiher
Number of students677
Color(s)Blue, White, Black
AffiliationProfessional Development School (Baylor University), Project Lead the Way, National Academy Foundation

Alexander James Moore Academy (more commonly referred to as A.J. Moore Academy) was a magnet high school in the Waco ISD district in Waco, TX. A.J. Moore was designed to prepare students for success in post secondary education and in the workplace. Students were prepared to excel academically, physically and socially. Special emphasis was placed on business, engineering, entrepreneurship, technology, and post-secondary education. In February 2012, the Waco Independent School District decided in part, avoiding a $3.4 million budget shortfall, to close and consolidate A. J. Moore Academy with University High School. On June 2, 2012, A.J. Moore Academy gave diplomas to its last graduating class. A. J. Moore Academy existed as a stand-alone school for 14 years.


A.J. Moore Academy was chosen by the National Academy Foundation (NAF) to be one of the twelve pilot sites in the US for the Academy of Information Technology and one of thirteen pilot sites for the Academy of Engineering. The school was the first school in the nation to include all four NAF academies including an Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and an Academy of Finance.

The Academy of Engineering is affiliated with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) since 2001. It was the sixth school in the State of Texas to become certified to offer PLTW courses for college credit. In 2007 the school became a pilot school for a new partnership between PLTW, NAF, and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.

The school focused heavily on career choices and college preparation with guidance from school counselors, GEAR-UP professionals, and Princeton Review instructors. Students must obtain permission from the counselor or school principal to participate at local colleges and universities. Students took challenging course work, appropriate co-curricular activities and received guidance and counseling to help them enter the college of their choice.

Many Advanced Placement (AP) courses were offered at A.J. Moore Academy while an unusual amount of Dual Credit Courses (high school/college credit classes) are offered for a public high school. The Dual Credit Courses offered credit from the University of Texas at Arlington, McLennan Community College, Rochester Institute of Technology and Texas State Technical College.


The school was named after Professor A.J. Moore, the first principal and first African-American principal of an all (later segregated) black school that existed in Waco in the years following the American Civil War. A.J. Moore Academy was on a campus built for the school that was known as Jefferson-Moore High School (500 North University Parks Drive, Waco, Texas 76702). The school was almost completely remodeled during the 2009-2010 school year.

In 1986, three Waco High Schools (Jefferson Moore High School, Waco High School, and Richfield High School) were consolidated. The building that housed the defunct Jefferson-Moore High School was renamed the Waco 9th Grade Center in 1988. A.J. Moore Academy was chartered in 1997 and it became the only magnet high school in the Waco Independent School District. In 1997 the school began with only a ninth grade. Each year after that, the school added the next grade level to curriculum. In 2001, A.J. Moore Academy gave diplomas to its first graduating class.

Under the leadership of Dr. Debra Bishop, the school led the district into new education ideas such as job-specific academies, a business advisory board, and extensive college preparation. In 2010, Dr. Debra Bishop retired and Mrs. Angela Reiher became principal. Mrs. Reiher continued advancing the school culture and innovations that she helped create as Director of Academies and Assistant Principal during Dr. Bishop's era.


Because it was a magnet school, any Waco Independent School District student could attend A.J. Moore Academy regardless of city limits or school boundary lines. An application was required but selection was made on a first-come basis. If more students applied than the school had space, a lottery was held to fill remaining slots.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

  • The Steel Ambassadors - A student Steel Drum band that performed at various fund raisers and events around Waco.
  • Jazz Band
  • Key Club - Part of Key Club International, the world's largest teenage volunteer organization.
  • Competitive Swim Team
  • Outdoor Leadership High Adventure Club - A leadership club that learned martial arts and outdoor survival skills.
  • Drill Team (Dance)
  • The Bulldog Battalion is A.J. Moore's Honor Unit JROTC program. Included competitive drill and orienteering teams.
  • Spanish Club
  • Texas Association of Future Educators
  • Interact Club


All students at A. J. Moore belonged to one of the following small learning communities for more career specific education:

Notable graduates[edit]

  • Billy G. Mills (born 1929), Los Angeles, California, City Council member, 1963–74, Superior Court judge thereafter
  • Doris Miller (1919–1943), United States Navy serviceman, Navy Cross recipient
  • Tom Wilson (1931-1978), record producer

External links[edit]