McDonald Elementary School began as McDonald High School. The school was named after Earnest McDonald, a wealthy bachelor who donated a great deal of money to build the school. Alex Ailshie donated six acres of land on which the
school was built.
The original high school was built in 1919. The first principal was Fred Broyles and the first school board member was Quincy Stykes. In 1957, the first school building was torn down and replaced a new brick building which still stands today. McDonald High School continued through the 1966-67 school year. Over the course of 47 years the high school was led by 20 men who brought change and life to the community through the process of continuing education. In 1967 the school became an elementary school and the school's first principal was Billy Keasling.