School Namesakes & History
Denbigh Early Childhood Center: Denbigh ECC is named for the Denbigh neighborhood in the northern portion of Newport News. This area was originally Denbigh Plantation, which was patented by Captain Samuel Matthews, who came to Virginia before 1618.
Gatewood PEEP: PEEP is an acronym for Program for Educating Exceptional Preschoolers, and it is located on Gatewood Road behind Warwick High School.
Marshall Early Learning Center: The original John Marshall Elementary School closed in 2012 and was later reopened as Marshall Early Learning Center. The original elementary school was named for John James Marshall (1755-1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835.
Watkins Early Childhood Center: Dorothy R. Watkins Elementary School closed in 2007 and was later reopened as Watkins Early Childhood Center. The school was named for Dorothy Roles Watkins (1909-1974), an African-American teacher who sued the city schools in the 1950s to get equal pay for white and black teachers. She retired from the school system in 1974 and was named to the Newport News School Board in the same year.
Achievable Dream Academy: Achievable Dream Academy was originally Dunbar-Erwin Elementary School. The Dunbar part was named for Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), a black poet and author; while the Erwin part was for Temple Cutler Erwin (1878-1951), Dunbar's first principal. In 1992, Dunbar-Erwin became An Achievable Dream Academy, operated as a public/private partnership between Newport News Public Schools and An Achievable Dream, Inc. founded by Mr. Walter S. Segaloff. This program pioneered a model wrapped in social and moral focus around an education curriculum proving that all children can learn and succeed.
Carver Elementary: George Washington Carver (1864-1943) was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts. Carver earned his master's degree in agricultural science from Iowa State University and conducted research/taught at Tuskegee University. Carver Elementary is located directly behind Crittenden Middle School, east of Jefferson Avenue and north of Mercury Boulevard.
B.C. Charles Elementary: Benton C. Charles (1882-1960) served as superintendent of schools in Warwick and York counties at the end of World War I. He is credited with being a pioneer in quality education on the Peninsula. In 1971, B.C. Charles Elementary School was dedicated in his memory. B.C. Charles Elementary is located adjacent to Menchville High School.
Deer Park Elementary: The school is adjacent to Deer Park, a multi-use, 50-acre park that was once a State Game Sanctuary for white-tailed deer. Deer Park is located on Jefferson Avenue, just south of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, in the center of the Newport News.
Discovery STEM Academy: The Newport News School Board unanimously voted to rename Magruder Elementary School as Discovery STEM Academy in 2016. The school was rebuilt and became a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) magnet. Magruder was originally named after John Bankhead Magruder (1807-1871), a Confederate general.
Dutrow Elementary: David Andrew Dutrow (1884-1936) was superintendent of schools from 1913 to 1921. This school is in the Denbigh area of the city, just west of Warwick Boulevard.
General Stanford Elementary: Major General John Henry Stanford (1938-1998), was a former Army general and highly decorated leader in the Army Transportation Corps who became a school administrator. He was so respected for his education policies that he was invited to speak at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Stanford became the first black superintendent of the Seattle city school system. General Stanford Elementary School is located within Joint Base Langley-Eustis and opened in 2003.
Greenwood Elementary: Oliver Chaffin Greenwood (1926-1994) was an administrator from 1965 to 1984, the last five years as superintendent. The School Board named a new elementary school in the Denbigh section for him in 1984, the year he retired. It opened in 1986.
Hidenwood Elementary: Hidenwood is a neighborhood in Newport News, Virginia which is located off Warwick Boulevard just west of the campus of Christopher Newport University. Hidenwood was developed in the 1950s in an area of Warwick County originally known as Nutmeg Quarter in the Colony of Virginia.
Hilton Elementary: Hilton, completed in 1919, is the oldest elementary school in the city still in operation. The Hilton Village neighborhood was built between 1918 and 1921 in response to the need for housing during World War I for employees of Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company. It is recognized as the country's first Federal war-housing project. It was built on the site of Lt. John Pembroke Jones' farm called "Hilton."
Jenkins Elementary: This school was named for Willis Asbury Jenkins (1860-1929), a pioneer in Newport News' educational system and superintendent of schools for a decade beginning in 1901. "Professor Jenkins" was superintendent of schools from 1901 to 1911. He was considered an innovator who started a kindergarten, headed the state teachers group and attracted well-known educators as consultants for teacher conferences. The school was named after him in 1967.
Katherine Johnson Elementary: Katherine Johnson (1918-2020) was a NASA mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. (In 2021, NNPS changed some school names that did not reflect the School Board's values of inclusion and diversity. This school opened in 1956 and was formerly named for the Lee Hall Mansion, built in 1859, as the home of Richard Decatur Lee (1821-1896).)
Kiln Creek Elementary: This school is within the Kiln Creek planned residential community located in Newport News and Yorktown, Virginia. In Newport News, Kiln Creek is south of the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport and northeast of Interstate 64. The school opened in 1991.
Knollwood Meadows Elementary: Knollwood Meadows Elementary is named for the Denbigh neighborhood where it's located. (In 2021, NNPS changed some school names that did not reflect the School Board's values of inclusion and diversity. This school was formerly named for Robert Oliver Nelson (1899-1970), an educator and former superintendent of schools in Newport News from 1946 to 1965.)
McIntosh Elementary: George James McIntosh (1914-2005) was principal of Newport News High School from 1948 to 1958 and superintendent of schools from 1965 to 1974. He was superintendent during court-ordered desegregation of the city schools and is credited with helping to bring about that change. McIntosh Elementary School opened in the Denbigh section of Newport News in 1976.
Newsome Park Elementary: Newsome Park was developed during World War II as a housing project for black defense workers, mainly at the Newport News Shipyard. Newsome Park was named for Joseph Thomas Newsome (1869–1942), a respected lawyer, newspaper editor and civic leader. He was the first African-American lawyer in post-Civil War Newport News to practice before the Virginia Supreme Court. In order to accommodate the influx of students from the new Newsome Park development in the early 1940s, the original Newsome Park Elementary School was built to replace the small five-room Brooksville Elementary. The school operated as an elementary school from 1943 to 1980. It integrated along with other city schools in 1971, and became a middle school from 1980 to 1995. In 1995, the school was renovated and returned to being an elementary school.
Palmer Elementary: Lutrelle Fleming Palmer (1888-1950) was a nationally prominent educator who was principal of Huntington High School from 1920 to 1943. He was a pioneer in the battle for teachers' equal rights and equalization of teacher salaries. Palmer also taught at Hampton Institute, now Hampton University. The school was named for him in 1971.
Richneck Elementary: Richneck Road and this area of the city are named for Richneck Plantation owned by the Cary family. Though only the archeological ruins remain, the original house was built during the late 1600s for Miles Cary, Jr. (1655-1709), who held several positions in the government of colonial Virginia. Miles Cary and his wife, Mary Milner Cary, are buried in the family graveyard, which is now part of the grounds of the nearby McIntosh Elementary School. The remains of the plantation were discovered during the construction of this school, and the excavation became an instructional project for high school students.
Riverside Elementary: Riverside is a residential neighborhood in central Newport News situated along the James River, west of Warwick Boulevard and Christopher Newport University.
Sanford Elementary: Thomas Ryland Sanford Jr. (1904-1963) was superintendent of schools for York and Warwick counties in the 1930s and 1940s, superintendent of Warwick City schools from 1951 to 1957 and an assistant superintendent of Newport News schools until he retired in 1962. One year after his death, the Newport News School Board named Sanford Elementary School in Denbigh after him.
Saunders Elementary: Joseph Henry Saunders (1876-1946), a Portsmouth native who attended the College of William and Mary, was superintendent of schools from 1921 to 1946.
Sedgefield Elementary: Sedgefield is a Newport News neighborhood to the west of the Hampton city line and to the north of Mercury Boulevard. In 2010, school administration officials closed the nearby South Morrison Elementary School due to budget cuts, and that school's staff and students merged with Sedgefield Elementary School.
Stoney Run Elementary: This school is named for the Stoney Run Creek, a branch of the Warwick River in Newport News, that runs in this school's neighborhood. (In 2021, NNPS changed some school names that did not reflect the School Board's values of inclusion and diversity. This school was formerly named for Horace Hardaway Epes (1849-1912), an educator in Newport News at the turn of the century.)
Yates Elementary: Richard Twisdell Yates (1921-1961) was a lawyer and prominent member of the Newport News School Board from 1956 to 1961. Yates Elementary is located in the central part of the city to the west of Warwick Boulevard.
B.T. Washington Middle: Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856-1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Washington was the first president and principal developer of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University), and the most influential spokesman for black Americans between 1895 and 1915. B.T. Washington Middle School is located in the southeast area of Newport News and was established in 1928. Additions were built in 1935 and 1952. Washington was closed in 2003 for extensive renovations and was reopened in 2006.
Crittenden Middle: Flora Davis Crittenden (born in 1924), a Newport News native and graduate of Huntington High School, worked for 32 years as a teacher and a guidance counselor in Newport News until she retired in 1981. Afterward, she served on the City Council and on committees to help the city's neediest children. Crittenden, a prominent civil rights activist, served part-time as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Newport News for eleven years. In 1994, the School Board named a newly renovated middle school after her.
Ella Fitzgerald Middle: Ella Fitzgerald was a Grammy winning jazz singer from Newport News. She sold over 40 million albums and was recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (In 2021, NNPS changed some school names that did not reflect the School Board's values of inclusion and diversity. This school opened in 1974 and was formerly named for John Marshall Dozier, Jr. (1903-1979), a long-time school board member in Newport News.)
Gildersleeve Middle: Ethel May Gildersleeve (1898-1991) was a graduate, teacher, dean of girls and assistant principal at Newport News High School where she served from 1920 until her retirement in 1964. Miss Gildersleeve affected the lives of thousands of children over seven decades. The new Gildersleeve Middle School was named for her in 1989.
Hines Middle: Homer Leroy Hines (1912-1984) was a former math and science teacher, and principal of the former Carver high and elementary schools. He remained there until Carver High closed in 1971. After Carver closed, Hines became federal project director for the school division and retired in 1977. In 1979, the School Board named Hines Middle School, formerly Carver Intermediate School, after him.
Huntington Middle: Huntington Middle School was originally Collis P. Huntington High School (opened in 1927), a black high school located in the East End section of Newport News during the era of racial segregation. After desegregation, it became an integrated intermediate school (eighth and ninth grades), and in 1981 was converted to a middle school (sixth through eighth grades). The school was named after Collis Potter Huntington (1821-1900), an American shipping and railroad magnate who founded the forerunner of Newport News Shipbuilding around 1890 that eventually led to the establishment of the town of Newport News in 1896.
Passage Middle: Mary Lipe Passage (1916-2003) was the first woman principal of a major Virginia high school who later helped start Newport News' first alternative school (Point Option). Starting as a teacher at Warwick Junior High, which became Ferguson High School, Mrs. Passage went on to become the school's assistant principal and then its principal. Her appointment as head of Ferguson in 1965 made history for female administrators in the region and the state. She retired from Newport News Public Schools as Assistant Director of Instruction for secondary and gifted education. In 2000, the new Mary L. Passage Middle School was named in her honor.
Achievable Dream Middle and High: The Achievable Dream schools are operated as a public/private partnership between Newport News Public Schools and An Achievable Dream, Inc. founded by Mr. Walter S. Segaloff. This program pioneered a model wrapped in social and moral focus around an education curriculum proving that all children can learn and succeed. In 2007, the program opened a secondary school for students in grades 6-12. In 2007-2008, the existing Briarfield Elementary School closed and was renovated to transform it into a middle and high school for Achievable Dream participants. The high school's first graduating class received diplomas in 2011.
Denbigh High: Denbigh High school was established in 1966 and is named for the Denbigh neighborhood in the northern portion of Newport News. The area was named for Denbigh Plantation, which was patented by Captain Samuel Matthews, who came to Virginia before 1618.
Heritage High: Heritage High School, established in 1996, is home to the Newport News Public Schools Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) magnet, as well as the University magnet. The school is located adjacent to Achievable Middle and High School in the South East End area of the city.
Menchville High: The high school was established in 1970 and was named for its location on Menchville Road. Menchville was the name of the waterfront property that was owned by the Mench family (Hudson and Sallie Mench) and sold to Warwick County in 1918 to establish the City Farm.
Warwick High: The school originally opened in 1926 as Morrison High School in the small community of Morrison. It became Warwick High School in 1948. Originally located in Warwick County, it became part of the Newport News Public Schools system in 1958 when the citizenry of the former Warwick County voted to be politically consolidated with the neighboring independent city of Newport News. The facilities at Warwick High School were expanded to their present size in 1968.
Woodside High: Woodside High School, established in 1996, is named for Woodside Lane where it is located. It is south of Newport News Park and Ft. Eustis Boulevard in the northern part of Newport News.
Point Option: Mary L. Passage, the first woman principal of a major Virginia high school and namesake to Passage Middle School, helped start Newport News' first alternative school, Point Option/New Summits Alternative High School. As the Newport News coordinator of secondary schools, Mrs. Passage wrote the grant that got Point Option off the ground for city students in 1973. The school now serves students throughout the region.
Closed High Schools
George Washington Carver High School (closed 1971) was an all-black high school founded in 1949 named for George Washington Carver (1864-1943), an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts. In 1971, it became an intermediate school during the city of Newport News' desegregation plan. The building is now Crittenden Middle School, named for former Carver teacher and counselor Flora D. Crittenden, who taught at Carver from 1949 until it shut its doors in 1971.
Ferguson High School (closed 1996) was named for Homer Lenoir Ferguson (1873-1953), the president of Newport News Shipbuilding from 1915 until 1946. The building originally opened as Warwick Junior High School in 1957 and became Ferguson High School in 1961. The school closed in 1996, and was used by the adjacent Christopher Newport University until the early 2000s. The former site of Ferguson High School on Warwick Boulevard is now the site of Ferguson Center for the Performing Arts, a theater and concert hall, on the campus of Christopher Newport University.
Collis P. Huntington High School (closed 1971), commonly referred to as just Huntington High School, was a black high school established in 1927 located in the East End section of Newport News during the era of racial segregation. After desegregation, it became an integrated intermediate school (eighth and ninth grades), and in 1981 was converted to a middle school (sixth through eighth grades). The school was named after Collis Potter Huntington (1821-1900), an American shipping and railroad magnate who founded the forerunner of Newport News Shipbuilding around 1890 that eventually led to the establishment of the town of Newport News in 1896.
Newport News High School (closed 1971), a segregated white school, was built in 1924. In 1971, Newport News High School was converted, along with Collis P. Huntington and George Washington Carver High Schools, to an intermediate school when desegregation was implemented and school districting went into effect. In 1980, Newport News Intermediate School was closed. The school building is now used by the U.S. Navy as an enlisted barracks for ships undergoing maintenance at Newport News Shipbuilding and is named Huntington Hall.