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Engaged Leaders

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Norfolk Academy develops civic-minded, socially aware and active leaders as an essential component of our educational program.

Our approach to Leadership is rooted in central tenets of the school’s Statement of Philosophy and Objectives -- above all, its focus on character development: “To live by our conviction that sound moral and spiritual values define the individual in a more significant way than academic achievement.”

From the moment our youngest students step to the front of the class to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and present a creative project as Boy or Girl of the Day, they begin learning about leadership. That is just the beginning. Our students learn about leadership through the intersection of academics, co-curricular, and extra-curricular involvement, and their journeys to understanding leadership reflect the individual choices they make along the way. Some may serve as members of our Middle or Upper School Honor Councils, or as Fellows in the Batten Leadership Program. Others may be recognized by their peers as leaders in classroom discussions, creative pursuits, or athletics. The choice lies with each student.

I have realized that true leadership involves a great deal of empathy. It is impossible to lead others without understanding their objectives and aspirations and synthesizing them into one coherent message. Implementing solutions requires empathetic leadership.

Mila '20


Manning talking to students

Every student has an array of opportunities to emerge as a confident leader who…

  • Treats others with integrity and respect

  • Serves those in need

  • Communicates effectively and with versatility in speaking and writing

  • Listens with empathy and seeks to understand others’ perspectives

  • Embodies the courage to act on their values and to challenge paradigms and convention

  • Demonstrates honor through words and actions

Fellows of the Batten Leadership Program

These focused learning tracks reflect Norfolk Academy’s commitment to producing principled, civic-minded leaders who can effect positive change. Applicants are selected in ninth grade and remain through senior year. Students grapple with real-world challenges through research and experiential learning as they seek actionable solutions.

Learn More

Leadership Lab

Leadership Lab is an experiential program designed to promote personal growth, group cooperation, and leadership skills. This foundational program allows participating students to discover personal pathways to leadership, providing academic sessions on knowing self (9th grade), leading others (10th grade), building meaningful networks (11th grade), and serving as mentors (12th grade).  The 9th grade program culminates in an 8-day experiential leadership challenge. 

Medical Scholars

The Medical Scholars Program is a joint effort among community physicians, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Sentara Healthcare, and Norfolk Academy. Students participate in a series of medical education programs and internships in order to gain a deeper understanding of the myriad professional pathways as direct providers of health care. Since its inception, the program has inspired many Norfolk Academy students to pursue pre-med courses as undergraduates, paving the way for their entry into medical schools across the country.