A College Preparatory Private School with Two Campuses in Suffolk, VA. Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 12.

Exploring NSA's History

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (NSA) was the vision of approximately 100 parents who came together to organize a private elementary school in Suffolk, Virginia, serving grades one through seven. More than 50 years ago, the school opened with 128 students, six teachers and a principal. Today, NSA is a fully accredited pre-kindergarten through grade 12 independent school serving more than 800 students from all over Hampton Roads and eastern North Carolina on two campuses.
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Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in the 1960s

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (NSA) was the vision of approximately 100 parents who came together to organize a private elementary school in Suffolk, Virginia, serving grades one through seven. The school opened with 128 students, six teachers and a principal. 

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Construction of the Main Campus in 1972

NSA moved to the current site of the Main Campus on Pruden Boulevard, west of downtown Suffolk. The Lower School building was erected followed by the Upper School building for students in grades eight through 12. The first student from South America graduated from NSA in the 1970s.

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Arthur E. Jones, former headmaster at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Mr. Arthur E. Jones became the Headmaster of NSA and served in that role from 1971-1984. Under his leadership, NSA developed a full range of academic, athletic and extracurricular programs and began to draw students from Portsmouth, Chesapeake and surrounding areas, as well as from Suffolk.

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Poster with the school motto, Honor Above All

The first Asian American and Black students graduated from NSA. NSA hires the first faculty member of color to teach at NSA, who remained at NSA until 2000.

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Mr. J. Albert Barrett, former president of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Mr. J. Albert Barrett (1984-1989) became president upon the retirement of Mr. Jones. Under his direction, NSA adopted an exclusively college preparatory curriculum. 

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Dr. Douglas Naismith

Dr. Douglas C. Naismith (1989-2005) became president of NSA, and to this day, he has been NSA’s longest serving president.

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Former Head of School Colley W. Bell III

NSA’s fifth Head of School, Mr. Colley W. Bell III, began his tenure after Mr. Foster relocated to the midwest. 

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Virginia Diversity Network logo

NSA joins the Virginia Diversity Network and further expands on the diverse recruitment of faculty, staff, students and trustees. The first Black trustee was elected to the NSA Board of Trustees.

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Head of School Debbie Russell and family

Upon Mr. Bell’s departure in 2013, Mrs. Deborah B. Russell became NSA’s sixth head of school. She continues to serve in that role today, leading the school through reaccreditation, strategic planning, diverse recruitment of faculty, staff and students, improvements to programs and facilities as well as fundraising.

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Front cover of a capital campaign brochure

NSA embarks on a capital campaign with a goal of $6.5 million for strategic initiatives, creates the Sandra F. Birdsong Center for Academic Excellence and hires a consultant to assist the school in rethinking scheduling, curriculum offerings, staffing and use of facilities.

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STEM Innovation Lab
The STEM Innovation Lab opens, and NSA hires the school’s first STEM Learning and Innovation Specialist. NSA also hires economist Dr. James Koch to determine the economic impact of NSA on the Hampton Roads community.
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Nansemond-Suffolk Academy's Harbour View Campus
A second lower school opens, serving grades Pre-K2 through Grade 3 on Harbour View Boulevard in north Suffolk. A 1:1 Apple MacBook program was established in the middle school, and the NSA Educational Foundation was founded to provide scholarships to students to help make NSA affordable for families with a household income of less than 300% of the federal poverty level under the Educational Improvement Scholarship (EISTC) program. 
Read More about 2016
Brochure cover for NSA's 2017-2022 strategic plan

NSA releases its new strategic plan, with updated vision and mission statements, new core values and a portrait of an NSA graduate as well as six strategic initiatives centered on curriculum and programs, the school environment, faculty and staff, communications and marketing, financial vitality and school governance.

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Students holding hands at an assembly

NSA renews its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Board of Trustees establishes a diversity, equity and inclusion committee of the board. An anti-racism and discrimination policy was approved by the Board of Trustees and added to all student and parent handbooks. NSA received an anonymous gift of $50,000 to establish a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Endowment Fund.

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Image of AIM School-Assessment Guide

NSA engages NAIS to launch the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey and guide the school in a self-assessment. Using appreciative inquiry, the survey will help NSA evaluate diversity, multiculturalism, equity and justice in our school community. The AIM survey and school self-assessment will also assist NSA in determining how well we are incorporating NAIS’ Principles of Good Practice: Equity and Justice within our school.

Read More about 2021