Great Schools for Your Career and Your Family

Home to 30 colleges and universities, the 25th largest public school district in North Carolina  and multiple private, charter and international schools, the Cleveland County region offers top-notch education institutions from pre-K through post-secondary education.

Gardner-Webb University (GWU) and Cleveland Community College make it easy to earn your undergraduate, MBA or specialized certificate degree while you grow your career in Cleveland County. Plus, many area manufacturers offer tuition reimbursement and flexible hours to help you complete your studies while you earn a paycheck.

Cleveland County and the surrounding region also offer access to a variety of high-quality Pre-K-12 options, including public, private, charter, special purpose and international schools. Read on to find the best fit for you and your family.

Top-Ranked Colleges and Universities

Located conveniently in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb University (GWU) offers flexible classes and nationally recognized online programs. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked GWU’s online graduate business degree the No. 1 Online MBA for Veterans in the Carolinas. In 2012, it was ranked the No. 9 Online MBA Program in the World by If you prefer to earn your degree in-person, you’ll benefit from an average class size of just 25 students, facilitating a more personalized, tailored education experience than many larger top-ranked universities can offer.

Cleveland Community College, located in Shelby, offers two-year Associate Degree programs and 15-hour Certificate programs to help enhance your career in manufacturing. Relevant certificate programs include Electronics Engineering Technology, Electrical Maintenance and Automation and Lean Manufacturing. Cleveland Community College also offers 16-week job training academies for people looking to skill-up or make a transition from another career into manufacturing. Special academies include the CNC Technology Academy, the Welding Academy and the Robotics Academy. Financial assistance is available for most academies.

Thanks to its convenient location, Cleveland County also offers access to world-class colleges and universities in North Carolina and South Carolina, including UNC Charlotte, Queens University of Charlotte, Johnson & Wales Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, UNC Asheville, Clemson University, Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC and Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.

NC’s 25th Largest School District

Cleveland County is home to the 25th largest public school district in North Carolina, offering high-quality, comprehensive education for grades K-12. With 15,000 students and 29 modern facilities, Cleveland County Schools (CCS) have been recognized nationally for student achievement and learning environments, as well as for their exemplary use of technology.

Technology-based programs in Cleveland County Schools include online courses for high school students offered through the CCS Virtual Academy, student robotics competitions and the 1:1 Student Laptop Initiative, which aims to enhance classroom engagement through access to digital technology. The program will provide all 10th and 11th graders with access to their own Chromebooks during the 2017-2018 school year.

Cleveland County Schools is also home to North Shelby School, a special purpose public school for students with special needs between the ages of three and 21, who have been placed at North Shelby by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team at their home school.

Cleveland County Schools, together with Cleveland Community College and the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership (CCEDP), recently launched a new Advanced Manufacturing Academy (AMA) to prepare rising 11th graders for high-demand, high-wage jobs at local manufacturing companies after graduation. AMA students are dual-enrolled in high school and community college and, through a combination of online classes, industry-based college courses and hands-on learning opportunities, graduate with a high school diploma and a community college diploma with a specific technical emphasis

Private, Charter and Special Purpose

In addition to its excellent public school system, Cleveland County offers a variety of private, charter and special purpose school options to meet every family’s needs.

  • Pinnacle Classical Academy in Shelby, North Carolina, is a tuition-free, public charter school, which embraces research-based instructional practices as part of its teaching philosophy. The Academy recently completed a $13 million expansion to create a new state-of-the-art facility and campus.
  • Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, located in neighboring Rutherford County, is the No.5-ranked school in the state according to U.S. News & World Report. The tuition-free, public charter school is open to students throughout North Carolina.
  • Grace Christian Academy (GCA) is a small Christian faith-based private school located in Kings Mountain. GCA is Cleveland County’s premier registered Christian school.
  • Gaston Day Private School is an independent, non-sectarian college preparatory school located in Gastonia, North Carolina.
  • The Fletcher School in Charlotte is a non-profit, independent school offering comprehensive education to students with specific learning disabilities and/or ADHD.
  • The John Crosland School in Charlotte is a private school committed to providing students with mild to moderate attention and learning differences with the individualized education to achieve their highest potential.
International Education Options

Cleveland County’s proximity to Charlotte and its surrounding areas provide access to multiple international schools. These high-qualities educational institutions provide options for families locating from other countries, as well as families who wish to enroll their children in multicultural or multilingual education environments.

  • Deutsche Schule Charlotte holds the title of “Center of Excellence” by the American Association of Teaching German and offers German language and cultural education to students starting at age 1.
  • Charlotte Chinese Academy teaches simplified Chinese and Pinyin and educates heritage and non-heritage students about Chinese culture.
  • British International School in Charlotte is a non-sectarian college preparatory day school that is part of Nord Anglia Education, a network of 42 international schools and over 34,000 students.
  • Carolina International School in Concord is a North Carolina public charter school focused on encouraging students to connect learning to the world around them with an international framework.
Day Care and Pre-K Education

Cleveland County offers multiple options for Pre-K students and toddlers, ranging from full-time care to half-day activities to fit parents’ schedules.

Shelby is home to La Petite Academy, an educational daycare with specialized curriculum and creative learning experiences for young children, and the First Baptist Church Child Care Center, among other local resources for working parents.

Cleveland County also offers a large number of popular half-day programs for young children, including Rainbow Connection, Aldersgate Playschool and Kid’s Place, located in Shelby, and Resurrection Lutheran School, located in Kings Mountain.

Find A Job

Want a game-changing career? Whether you’re new to the manufacturing industry or a seasoned pro, we’ve got a job with your name on it.