About the Academy
Since our 1728 founding, Norfolk Academy has existed for the transformative education of children and families in Hampton Roads. As Virginia’s oldest independent school, we carry that historic mission into today, even as we constantly reevaluate and improve upon our purpose, our performance, and the lasting effect we have on our students and our region. Students who attend Norfolk Academy come from Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. Few schools have thrived for almost 300 years like Norfolk Academy. It’s the clear and ringing timbre of relationships you find at Norfolk Academy that continues to demonstrate our relevance today.
We are delighted to welcome Travis J. Larrabee as Norfolk Academy's new Head of School, starting July 1, 2023.
Mr. Larrabee joins us from William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, where he has served since 2007, most recently in the role of Assistant Head of School.
He is the ideal person to lead Norfolk Academy into the future, embracing our Philosophy & Objectives, our Honor System, and our distinctive approach to innovation — “judicious experimentation with the new” — that has kept our school at the forefront, not just in Virginia but nationally as well.
~ Excerpts from a letter from the Search Committee Chair
“Norfolk Academy seeks to empower every student with the academic knowledge and life wisdom to succeed throughout their future journey.”
Penn State University
NA-TV Sports Broadcasting, One Love Club, Varsity Track and Field
“NA really does foster that ‘C.E.O.’ drive where leadership is a key part of our education. After going through NA, everyone here plans on building their own path; I think that’s something really unique about this place.”
The University of the South (Sewanee)
Varsity Rowing (Captain), Outdoors Club (President), Peer Counselor, Belfry Contributor, French Exchange
“Norfolk Academy planted a seed of intellectual curiosity unparalleled by other institutions. These past 12 years, I have truly fallen in love with learning.”
University of Notre Dame (Glynn Family Honors Program)
Winter Musical (Lead Role), The Belfry (Editor-in-Chief), Bass in the Choir, Pianist Extraordinaire
“Structured to promote group discussions and spur creativity, our academic classrooms are fostering communicative and innovative students that are extremely prepared to tackle higher education."
University of Virginia (Jefferson Scholar)
Honor Council (Middle and Upper School Chairman), BLP Global Affairs Fellows, Varsity Cross Country (Captain)
"The teachers at this school care so much about all of the students, including the ones they don’t teach. They’ve inspired me to practice selflessness and to show compassion and empathy for others."
Varsity Crew, Girl Up (Co-President), German Exchange
"Students at NA are always juggling 15 things at once -- essays, research papers, labs, presentations, group projects, exams, mentoring, sports, community service, summer travel -- with grace and timeliness. I have learned how to manage my time well and maintain a balance in my life."
Carnegie Mellon University
BLP Global Affairs Fellows, Dance Team (Co-Captain), Winter Musical
"Norfolk Academy has left a lasting impact on me through helping to build my character. First grade characteristics such as enthusiasm, empathy, and kindness have been constantly instilled in me, and for that I am extremely grateful."
University of Virginia
Peer Counselor, Norfolk Academy Medical Scholars Program, Varsity Rowing
"I have been given many opportunities to become involved with my community and lead other students, and I believe this will help me become an effective leader and agent of change in the coming years."
Peer Counselor, Varsity Cross Country (Co-Captain), Varsity Indoor Track, Varsity Outdoor Track, Tunstall Student Council (Executive Vice President)
"Norfolk Academy taught me how to put my thoughts into words clearly."
International Relations Club (Vice President), German Club (Secretary), Norfolk Academy After School Program
"The emphasis on respectful discourse and creating a positive, open classroom environment was integral to my development as a leader."
New York University
BLP Global Health Fellows, Varsity Track and Field (Co-Captain), Girl Up Club (Secretary)
"Girl of the Day, Forensics, and the Speech Program helped me articulate my opinions with confidence."
BLP Literacy Fellows, Literary Magazine (Co-Editor-in-Chief), Breakthrough at Norfolk Academy (Teaching Fellow)
"Where else can you take Philosophical Literature as a high school senior? Our classes are difficult, but I know that I am better because of them."
Washington and Lee University
Dance Team (Co-Captain), Winter Musical, Peer Counselor
"The competitive energy that lives within Norfolk Academy inspires students to help their community and join sports teams or the arts which creates more overlap between students and fosters stronger relationships."
BLP Global Health Fellows, Varsity Field Hockey (Captain, MVP, State Championship Team), Norfolk Academy Medical Scholars Program
"Teachers allowed me the opportunity to think freely and to discover more about any subject in which I was interested."
University of Denver
Chinese Exchange Program, BLP Global Health Fellows, Varsity Sailing (two-time Captain)
"Norfolk Academy has allowed me to become a leader and grow as a leader."
Varsity Football (Co-Captain), Tunstall Student Council (Class Treasurer), Special Olympics Club
"Our student-faculty relationships help students realize the importance of brilliant teachers, and how they are the people with incredible influence in their lives."
George Mason University
BLP Chesapeake Bay Fellows, Varsity Rowing (Captain), Honor Council
"We aren’t given strict schedules and timelines so time management is one skill I think everyone is able to learn here."
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts
Studio Art Classes, Norfolk Academy After School Program, Dance Team
"NA has taught me to develop honest relationships with my teachers and to seek help when necessary."
Florida A&M University
Dance Team, Peer Counselor, Norfolk Academy After School Program
"The student-teacher relationships at NA are a facet of this school that I believe has been crucial to my growth, and is one of the many things that makes NA stand out from any other school."
Varsity Rowing, Horizons Yearbook (Editor-in-Chief), The Belfry (Co-Editor-in-Chief)
"Projects at Norfolk Academy allow you to find your own creative voice to develop innovative solutions to classroom assignments."
University of Virginia
Robotics (Captain), Lighting Crew (Lighting Director and Lead Designer), Varsity Rowing (Coxswain), Fine Arts Association (President)
"Norfolk Academy has encouraged me to broaden my horizons. I have had the opportunity to meet many different people from many diverse backgrounds which has laid a foundation for me to engage in meaningful conversations that will benefit me in the future."
University of North Carolina
Captain, Varsity Football, Basketball, and Lacrosse, BLP Chesapeake Bay Fellows, Monogram Club
"The friends and mentors whom I have found at NA will continue to guide me for years into the future."
Varsity Soccer (Captain), Varsity Basketball (Captain), Varsity Lacrosse (Captain), BLP Global Affairs Fellows, Tunstall Student Council (Senior Class President)
"Norfolk Academy has taught me to be a leader and helped me understand the value of using my voice to help me achieve my goals."
Varsity Tennis (two-time Captain), Orchestra, Norfolk Academy Medical Scholars Program
Memberships & Accreditations
Norfolk Academy is the only school in the state that enjoys accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS/AdvancEd); the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS); and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS).
Under the auspices of the Virginia Council of Private Education (VCPE), Norfolk Academy is recognized as an accredited school by the Virginia State Board of Education. The school is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the College Board, the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), the Enrollment Management Association (EMA), and the World Leading Schools Association (WLSA).