Welcome to the Norfolk Academy website! Our school is a leader among independent schools with roots that date to 1728, making us the 8th oldest secondary school in the country. As you explore our website, you will certainly gain a sense of our mission, our talented and energetic community, and the exciting opportunities that characterize this historic institution.
One of the distinctive features of Norfolk Academy’s rigorous, college preparatory program is its clarity of purpose. We believe in teaching values. We work hard to live by our conviction that moral values and an honest character are more important in defining a person than is academic or social success.
We also believe in excellence. With high expectations, we constantly push ourselves to do and be better. We believe, however, that striving for excellence in a moral vacuum without concern for others is a hollow endeavor. As a result, you will find Norfolk Academy to be a rich environment in which our challenging academic program is grounded in a highly developed moral and ethical foundation.
We invite you to take a close look at us. Our website will give you a glimpse of our beautiful campus, impressive facilities, comprehensive program, and remarkable people, but please visit us if you can. You will meet our dedicated teachers and their eager students. You will see firsthand our traditions of morning chapel, family-style lunches, serious study, close relationships, teacher-coaches, Boy and Girl of the Day, and senior speeches….not to mention spirited athletic competition and stunning arts performances. The place is abuzz with activity and our bright and diverse student body is both engaging and fully engaged. You will quickly begin to understand why generations of parents and graduates prize and appreciate this special place.
I look forward to meeting you on campus and welcoming you in person.
Dennis G. Manning
Wake Forest University - B.A.
Wake Forest University - M.A.
After completing his B.A. and M.A. in English at Wake Forest University, Mr. Manning began his teaching career in 1984 at Woodberry Forest School, where he taught English, coached basketball and tennis, and served as a dorm parent. He was later appointed Associate Headmaster; Director of College Counseling; Director of Summer Programs; and AP English teacher. In the school's centennial year, 1989, Mr. Manning received the outstanding teaching award, the George R. O'Connor Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
In 1991, Mr. Manning was named Dean of Freshmen at Washington and Lee University where he also served as Instructor in English, teaching freshman courses in composition and literature. He was appointed by the College Board and the Advanced Placement program as a Table Leader for the AP English Literature examination. During his years in Lexington, Mr. Manning also pursued further graduate work in English and higher education at the University of Virginia. Mr. Manning was twice chosen to give the Senior Address to graduating classes at Washington and Lee, in 1995 (the first freshman class he served as dean) and in 1998. He was also named to the North Carolina Governor's Institute through which he worked with a team of college administrators, as well as a professor and researcher at Duke Medical Center, to assess patterns of alcohol and substance use on college campuses. In 1998, Mr. Manning was awarded the Dr. William W. Pusey III Award by the Student Body at Washington and Lee. In 1998, Mr. Manning was named headmaster of The American School in England, where he also taught senior English. During his years in England, Mr. Manning worked closely with the Board and campus architect, Professor David Mayernik of the University of Notre Dame, on a comprehensive campus master plan.
In 2001, Mr. Manning followed Mr. John H. Tucker, Jr. and Mr. J.B. Massey, Jr. as just the third headmaster of Norfolk Academy since 1950. In 2003 the school launched the largest campaign in its history, The Campaign for the Fourth Century, a $40 million dollar fund-raising effort, to support the most ambitious building projects on the site in nearly 50 years—the Tucker Arts Center and the multi-functional Athletic Pavilion. Mr. Manning has served on the Wake Forest University Board of Visitors; the Virginia Association of Independent Schools Board of Directors; is the Past President of the Norfolk Forum, the longest-standing public speaking forum in the country; and is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Independent Schools. Mr. Manning and his wife Beth (B.A., Wake Forest; M.A., University of Virginia) have two children, Will, a Norfolk Academy graduate of the Class of 2008 and now a senior at Johns Hopkins University, and daughter Mary Heath, a member of the Vth Form at Norfolk Academy.