In 2019, West Nottingham Academy celebrated its 275th birthday, marking us as the oldest boarding school in the United States. I have been part of the West Nottingham family for four of those years, and in January, I stepped into the Head of School position. From the first days of my tenure here, the special nature of the West Nottingham community became clear to me.
Community is a vital ideal at WNA. We celebrate the diversity of our local and international populations and simultaneously stress building the skills to communicate and work collaboratively across the distances of varied backgrounds. Currently, the flags of 89 countries and territories hang proudly in our dining hall where students from around the United States and globe gather for meals and meetings and to experience a variety of speakers from all walks of life. Within the confines of our beautiful 100-acre campus, our students learn how to respect and care for themselves and each other and the environment we all share. They also learn how to translate that care and respect into their wider roles in the world and in their futures.
During their time at WNA, our students discover that community extends beyond our own campus in Colora, Maryland. They find learning opportunities, friendships, and connections within our local rural home, and on cultural trips to cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York, vibrant metropolises within day-trip driving distance from campus. As our talented and dedicated faculty support our students in the nurturing environments of our classrooms and dormitories, they motivate the students to work to their highest potential, challenge them to explore new horizons, and encourage them to embrace curiosity and rigor.
At WNA, we welcome our students to a school that offers the best of all worlds. Our storied history includes signers of the United States’ Declaration of Independence and the founders of University of Pennsylvania Medical School and Princeton University. The traditions and notoriety of our past form the foundation for our progressive vision of the future. Our Environmental Sustainability Program, our state-of- the-art Innovation Center, our professional Artist-in-Residence Program, and our focus on thinking critically and writing across the curriculum combine STEM and the humanities together for a full and unique college preparatory experience. The variety of our after-school programs brings athletics into the mix and ensures our students can choose activities from Student Environmental Council to robotics to soccer to basketball and more.
Our mission as educators, coaches, activity leaders, and dorm parents is to ensure WNA’s students are immersed in a transformative residential and educational and experience that prepares them well for full and rewarding lives; lives in which they strive for excellence in all they undertake while finding time for joy and appreciation. WNA is so much more than I can write in this small space. I extend my sincere invitation to you to make contact, call, visit, and get to know for yourself the worlds of possibilities WNA offers our students.
To our alumni and wider community, I also extend a warm welcome to WNA anytime you are in the neighborhood. The WNA community resides here on campus and in all the people, places, and experiences that have been and are a part of West Nottingham Academy.
Virginia Kennedy, Ph.D.
Head of School