Cape Fear Academy Wilmington NC

Cape Fear Academy is a prestigious private school in Wilmington NC.

Cape Fear Academy, an independent coeducational day school, provides a challenging college preparatory program and a developmentally appropriate curriculum within a stimulating learning environment. The Academy considers scholarly achievement, character development, creative expression, and physical wellness the components of true excellence.

Students make a strong commitment to their own education while enjoying a close relationship with their teachers. The faculty is the cornerstone of the learning community and is committed to developing students who are knowledgeable, reflective, creative, caring, and active participants in a complex global society.

Each student is an individual with diverse skills, interests, and needs. With that in mind, the faculty employs teaching methods that engage the varied learning styles of students.

The Academy promotes a sense of community where students live as responsible persons whose word is their bond, whose work is their own, and around whom the property and well being of others are safe.


Cape Fear Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) / Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), having completed its five-year reaccreditation in the fall of 2009.  Additional professional memberships include:  the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools (NCAIS), the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), Independent School Management Consortium (ISM), and the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). 


Lower School  (PK-5th grades)  250
Middle School  (6th-8th grades) 161
Upper School  (9th-12th grades)  241
Total Enrollment 662


Class of 2010 1177*  26.2
Six-Year Average at CFA 1178 24.3
National Average in 2007 1016 21.1
North Carolina Average in 2007 1007 21.1

*based on highest critical reading and math scores

Fifty-seven (57) students were in the Class of 2010, and 90% took at least one AP course during their high school career.  All students who take AP courses must take the AP exam.  83% of the AP students in 2009-2010 made a 3 or higher on the exam. 

Cape Fear Academy received international recognition from the College Board for having the widest segment of Upper School population achieve an exam grade of 3 or higher in a school of small size in two of our AP courses.

The school is situated on a 27-acre campus.  Present facilities include three classroom buildings, three modular units, the Beane-Wright Student Center, and the Bruce B. Cameron Gymnasium, as well as athletic fields and a tennis facility.  Additionally, athletic fields are being developed across from our campus entrance on College Road on a nine-acre tract, which includes the only artificial turf field in the eastern part of the state.  Plans for significant expansion of the campus footprint include a new gymnasium, a fine arts center, additional classroom space, and new roadways. 


  • Approximately 340 computers throughout the campus.
    • 2 computer labs
    • 5 laptop labs
  • Wireless internet campus-wide; websites filtered for appropriateness of content
  • Internal email systems through Google apps for faculty, parents, and Middle and Upper School students
  • 8 classrooms equipped with Smartboards®

Cape Fear Academy was incorporated in 1966 and opened its doors in September of 1967.  The first class graduated in 1971.  It was named for the original Cape Fear Academy, an independent school for boys in Wilmington that operated from 1868 until 1916. 

The Academy is owned and operated by a not-for-profit corporation governed by an elected Board of Trustees and is a 501(c)(3) organization unaffiliated with any other institution, group, or church.  The Board is comprised of parents and alumni.  The purpose of the Board is to set the mission, determine the long- and short-range goals, and assure that the Headmaster has adequate financial resources to meet the Board’s goals and the school’s mission.

The Headmaster is hired by the Board as the chief educator as well as chief operating and administrative officer of the school.  The Head implements the policies of the school and the decisions of the Board.  He or she is responsible for anticipating the developing needs of the school, the general supervision and management of all aspects of the school’s operations including curriculum, day-to-day operations, preparation of the annual budget, participation in fundraising activities, and the engagement/termination of faculty and staff. 

There are directors for each of the three divisions of the school.  These directors, along with the Director of Admission, Business Manager, Director of Development, Athletic Director, Director of Technology, Executive Assistant to the Headmaster, and Director of College Placement make up the Administrative Team. 

In the present enrollment model, there is one Prekindergarten of 18 students, and two sections of 20 students each for Kindergarten through Grade 5.  Grades 6-8 have up to 58 students divided into three sections while the Upper School has a maximum of 66 in each grade.  Middle and Upper School academic sections are comprised of up to 21 students.

The tuition for 2009-10 (including assessments and fees) is:

Prekindergarten  $  8,545
Kindergarten $10,075
Grades 1-5 $13,825
Grades 6-8 $14,385
Grades 9-12 $14,560

Cape Fear Academy offers two types of financial aid:  need-based and merit.  Approximately 18% of the student body receives some type of financial aid with the bulk of the awards benefiting students in the Middle and Upper School.

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