IWA expects record enrollment of 670 students

Published 1:01 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Southampton Academy students, from left, Peyton Pittman, Kelsey Whitehead, Anna Carr and Morgan Pope gather on the first day of school Wednesday. SUBMITTED/ANNE PITTMAN

COURTLAND—Southampton and Tidewater academies reopened for school on Wednesday, while Isle of Wight Academy will reconvene for 2012-13 on Aug. 29.

A little of what’s new at Western Tidewater’s three private academies follows.


Isle of Wight Academy for a second year expects a record enrollment of 670 students.

Last year’s enrollment was 650, said Joseph Whitley, assistant headmaster for the lower school and director of admissions.

“I think we have a great program that we offer to students and we are a very good value,” Whitley said.

Tuition for high school students is $5,900 annually and for kindergarten it’s $5,000.

IWA gets 45 percent of its students from Isle of Wight County and another 45 percent from Suffolk.

“About 10 percent come from various places, including Southampton County, Sussex County, from as far as Portsmouth, Corapeake, N.C., and Gates (N.C.),” Whitley said.

To accommodate the growth, the private school is considering expanding the campus next summer for lower-school students, he said.

“We have room, but we are looking at plans for a new building soon,” he said.

This year’s senior class has 58 students.

New teachers include: Rosa Rodriguez for Spanish, Audrey Robbins for biology, Pam Pye for fifth grade and Jennifer Rose for first grade. Two positions were filled due to retirements, and the biology and first-grade teaching positions were created to accommodate more students.

In related matters, first-grade teacher Mary Margaret Wells was named the school’s first-time development director to help with fundraising efforts.



Tidewater Academy welcomed 151 students for the first day of school on Wednesday.

Headmaster Rodney Taylor noted enrollment is down; he blamed it on the economy.

“We’ve always hovered in the 220s,” Taylor said.

The private school in Wakefield serves students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. They come from as far as Petersburg, Williamsburg, Charles City and Chesterfield.

Cameron Westbrook is the only new teacher this year. A University of Virginia graduate with a master’s in sports administration, he will teach financial literacy, politics and health and physical education in the upper school. He is the son of Tidewater Academy Lower School Director Gayle Ford-Westbrook and Athletic Director Walter Westbrook.

Tidewater Academy has eliminated its football program, but plans to have either cross country or soccer this fall.

As far as improvements to buildings, a portion of the gymnasium roof ripped off during a June windstorm has been replaced, Taylor said.

Tidewater Academy has 10 seniors, most of whom have been at the school since pre-school.

“Several have been accepted into colleges and are waiting for bigger and more prestigious appointments like UVA and Tech,” he said.



Southampton Academy students also returned Wednesday. This year’s enrollment is 238, including 15 seniors.

The start of the school year in Courtland saw the return of Beth Fox to teach art in the lower school. Fox joins 33 other teachers.

The campus is now equipped with wireless Internet and the upper school is undergoing renovations.

New coaches include Frank Seal and Fannie Byrd for volleyball and Jim Tribbet for basketball.