Nancy Davies

By Cheryl Miller | December 8th, 2014

The educator and school founder on her career and what she plans to do once she's retired.


Born in Charlottesville and raised in Richmond, Nancy Davies began teaching in 1973. In 1998, Nancy founded Orchard House School, an educational oasis for middle school girls in grades 5-8. The curriculum focuses on leadership and social skills along with the development of aptitude in math, science, technology, the arts, etc. Nancy has become nationally recognized as an expert in creating learning environments in which girls thrive.

WHAT MEANS MOST TO HER: “I am passionate about children having opportunities in this world. I think education, particularly at middle school, the time of identity formation, is critical. I am interested in increasing opportunities and access to educations that focus on positive development of the individual rather than the current politics of education that are geared to group think/regurgitation rather than educating for the future, which will require a high degree of critical thinking. I am deeply concerned that the American education system, both public and private, is way off course from educating for a thriving, creative, thoughtful and energized society.”

PHILOSOPHY: Trying to see the heart of the people involved in situations. “I believe a lot of what people do that is not in the spirit of the greater good is driven by fear. I deeply hold that everyone wants to contribute and do his/her best and to act from a generous place – certainly that is true of most children.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Now in her 60s, and having given almost three years notice, Nancy Davies is stepping down as head of Orchard House School July 1. “Once I retire, I hope to pick up pickleball and painting.”

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