12465 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23606  Phone: (757) 591-4500



Newport News Education Foundation

NNEF Programs | Board of Directors

What is the Newport News Education Foundation?

The Foundation is a diverse group of citizens who support the Newport News public school division in its efforts to prepare students for the world of work. Members bring to the Foundation their expertise in business, education and industry, as well as skills in community and military leadership.

Since it was formed in 1992, the Foundation has hosted a number of forums with community leaders to discuss important education issues and has held annual events honoring outstanding high school students. The Foundation is a committee of Greater Peninsula NOW, which works toward improving the quality of life in Newport News and throughout the Peninsula.

How does it work?

Underlying the Foundation's commitment is the belief that a strong public education system is essential to a healthy and viable community. Students rely on the skills and knowledge they obtain in school to compete successfully in their chosen educational, career and life endeavors.

How well students learn the lessons of school and citizenship will have an impact on them, their families, their employers and their community. To support the school division in offering the children of Newport News the best education possible, the Foundation:

  • provides opportunities for members of the school, business, professional and military communities to exchange ideas;
  • supports restructuring the educational curriculum to broaden and improve opportunities for all students;
  • reviews educational standards and identifies needs;
  • supports applications for grants and other awards;
  • supports efforts to obtain necessary resources from state and federal government;
  • assists in promoting legislative initiatives that will improve education; and
  • recognizes and celebrates our children as the future of Newport News, the Virginia Peninsula, and beyond.

How can businesses and school work together?

Partnerships between educators and business have given rise to programs such as Academic Tech, which integrates academic and technical education from ninth grade through two years of post-secondary education, and An Achievable Dream, a unique public/private effort that helps third- through eighth-graders succeed in school.

Although programs may focus on different age groups or academic areas, all strive either to help students achieve in school, to introduce them to career and work options, or to ease the transition to college or additional training.

Other examples of community and school collaborations are programs that provide mentors and role models for students from business and industry; research facilities that introduce young people to high-tech work settings; professional organizations that provide internships, scholarships and programs for students; and policies by businesses that encourage employees to tutor young people and participate in school activities.

How can I help give young people an insight into the business world?

As a parent, neighbor, friend or business owner, you can help students make the transition to the world or work easier by sharing information about your business or career.

  • Discuss with young people the experiences and education that led to your career choice.
  • Give specific examples of how the skills students learn in school--math, writing, or others--are used in your job.
  • Bring an interested young person to your work site for a tour.
  • Let students know the importance of managing time wisely and how that skill will help them in the work world.
  • Ask young people what their interests are and what they are doing to pursue them.
  • Talk about how setting personal and career goals will help them make better choices about further education or training.
  • Consider offering internship or apprentice opportunities at your business.
  • Suggest to your professional organization that it offer a student scholarship or stipend.

NNEF Programs

Wayne D. Lett Scholarship

Wayne D. Lett Scholarship
The Wayne D. Lett Scholar Program is a merit-based award of $8,000 given to a Newport News public school senior in the Teachers for Tomorrow program. The program is administered by the Newport News Education Foundation as a tribute to Wayne D. Lett, Ed.D., a former superintendent of Newport News Public Schools. Financial support is provided by generous donations from Foundation members and Drs. Wayne & Rebecca Lett. The student chosen as the Wayne D. Lett Scholar will receive an offer of employment as a teacher in the Newport News school system upon graduation from college. The recipient must commit to teach in Newport News for three consecutive years after graduation. The recipient will also have the option to complete a student teaching assignment in the school division.

Salute to Success Student Recognition Banquet
The Newport News Education Foundation created the Salute to Success Student Recognition Dinner in 1993 as a visible means of honoring academic achievement by students in Newport News Public Schools. The event recognizes top high school students: National Merit, National Achievement class valedictorians, salutatorians, and in grades 9 through 11 who have the highest grade point average in their class.  
More information

Teacher Innovation Mini Grants
The Newport News Education Foundation, Junior League of Hampton Roads and National Council of Jewish Women have joined forces to offer classroom mini grants of $50 to $500 for NNPS teachers. Mini grants provide "seed money" for innovative classroom initiatives that enrich the educational experience for students. Mini Grant Information

Teacher Recruitment and Retention
The Newport News Education Foundation Teacher Retention and Recruitment Committee works with the NNPS to foster a supportive work and community environment that will attract and keep good teachers. The Committee helps administer the Wayne D. Lett Scholarship and is working to establish a directory of incentives for teachers, including discounts to stores and businesses on the Peninsula. If you would like to offer a discount to teachers and other staff in Newport News Public Schools, email Patrick Finneran.

NNEF Board of Directors

Mr. Richard B. Donaldson, Jr., Jones, Blechman, Woltz & Kelly

Mr. John Shifflett, Winning Organizations, LLC

Vice President

Mr. William Pile, Towne Benefits




Shawn Avery
Opportunity Inc. of Hampton Roads

Clark Baldwin
Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate

Dr. Felicia F. Barnett
Principal, Crittenden Middle School

Alonzo Bell
Randolph Real Estate Services Company

Taylor Bigley
Awnings by Bigley and Hogshire

Rhonda Bunn
Canon Virginia, Inc.

Melissa Burroughs
Fulton Bank

Sharon Conti
Virginia Educators Credit Union

Jayne DiVincenzo
Lions Bridge Financial

Kathy Edwards
An Achievable Dream, Inc.

Lynn G. Grimsley
RE/MAX Peninsula

Valencia Gross
Newport News Council of PTAs

Dr. Nicole Guajardo
Christopher Newport University

Mark Hanna
EVB Private Banking

Thaddeus B. Holloman, Sr.
Old Point National Bank

Gary B. Hunter
School Board Chairman

Barbara Hays Kamp
David, Kamp & Frank LLC

Dr. Ashby Kilgore
Superintendent, Newport News Public Schools

Mike Kuhns
Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Guy, G. Levy
Levy & Hoffman Dentistry

John W. McMillan, Jr.

Robin M. Nelhuebel
Riverside Health System

Karen Pfeifer
Newport News Shipbuilding

Christine Pilger
Principal, Discovery STEM Academy

Brian Richards
Newport News Walmart Supercenter

Scott Russell

Darlene G. Stephenson
Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital

Sylvia S. Weinstein
Oyster Pointer

Christine Wheeler
Jefferson Lab

Dr. Deborah George Wright
Thomas Nelson Community College


Dr. Gamaliel “Dan” Cherry
NASA Langley Research Center