Durham Academy was founded in 1933 as the Calvert Method School. The founders, George Watts Hill and his wife Ann McCulloch Hill, established the school as a private, independent school to educate their children and others in Durham. The school’s initial teaching philosophy (and its name) was based on the Calvert School in Baltimore, Maryland, which Ann McCulloch Hill attended as a child. In 1959, the school ended its affiliation with the Calvert School, changed its name to Durham Academy, and began an expansion that led to the first high school graduating class in 1975. The school has continued to grow over the years, evolving into one of the top independent schools in the state and nation. In preparing students exceptionally well for college and life beyond,
DA focuses on the acquisition of knowledge paired with the development of skills, critical judgment, and intellectual curiosity. Small classes, excellent and inspiring teachers, top-notch facilities, and a vigorous and engaging academic program support the mission of preparing students for moral, happy, and productive lives. In all, the goal is to help students develop habits that lead to academic success, moral behavior, responsible action, and the growth of character.
Durham Academy also believes that enhancing the spirit of community among faculty, students, and families is essential to the achievement of its goals. The faculty and staff approach each student as an individual. To that end, the school encourages close personal relationships fostered in an atmosphere of trust, respect for individual differences, and appreciation for the racial, cultural, and religious diversity in our society.
The school is organized into four divisions — Preschool, Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School — each with its own director. Hill Learning Center, which was founded at Durham Academy and remains a close neighbor and partner, serves a range of public and private school students, teachers, schools, and school districts in four distinct program areas: School, Summer, Tutoring, and Educator Professional Development Programs.
Durham Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is also a member of or affiliated with the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools, the Southern Association of Independent Schools, the National Association of Independent Schools, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC).