The Best School Districts in Wilmington, North Carolina

The Best School Districts in Wilmington, North Carolina

Elementary school in Wilmington, North Carolina

Moving to a larger city such as Wilmington, North Carolina can be very intimidating. If you are moving with kids, the move may be even more difficult. We’re here to help ease your worries about where to send your child to school. Here are the best private and public schools in the city of Wilmington.

Public Schools in Wilmington, North Carolina

Are you looking for public schools in the city of Wilmington, North Carolina? Look no further! Here are the two best public school districts near the city of Wilmington.

New Hanover County School District

The New Hanover County School District is a public school district right in the city of Wilmington, NC. Over 25,000 students attend schools in the district. Despite the large number of students, the district still has a good student-to-teacher ratio. Most classes have a 15 to 1 student-teacher ratio.


The New Hanover County School District is located in Wilmington. This is perfect if you live right in town.

The district has 25 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and eight high schools. Additionally, they have three pre-K schools and two alternative schools. All the schools are near the heart of the city. This makes it perfect for students wanting to walk to school or get dropped off.


New Hanover has average academic standing on state tests. 55% of students score at or above proficiency on the reading section of state tests. Similarly, 57% of students score above or at proficiency levels for math. The district scores well above the state averages for the SAT and ACT.

This district also offers a wide variety of AP classes for high school students including all core subjects.  Most of their high schools offer both online and in-person AP courses. These courses allow students to earn college credits for a cheaper cost while still in high school.

Unique Feature

The New Hanover County School District also includes the Marine Science Academy. This academy is considered an alternative high school. It’s open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Students will complete college-level Oceanography and Biology coursework while studying at the academy. Students will also get opportunities to engage in hands-on activities in the marine science field. During their time in school, students will also make many connections to professionals within this field of work. This allows many students to receive internships while still in high school and work opportunities after they graduate.

Brunswick County School District

The Brunswick County School District is a slightly smaller public school district outside the city of Wilmington, NC. However, it still has more than 13,000 students. The district’s mission is “To produce college and career-ready high school graduates.”

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This district is in Bolivia, North Carolina. This is about a 40-minute drive from Wilmington. As a public school district, Wilmington residents can still open enroll in Brunswick schools.

Brunswick County Schools has 10 elementary schools, six middle schools, and four high schools. These schools are spread out in multiple small towns in Brunswick County. This district is perfect for Wilmington residents who live on the outskirts of town or in the country.


The Brunswick district has average academic scores on state testing. 50% of students scored at or above proficiency levels on the reading portion. 55% of students were at or above proficiency levels for the math section. High schoolers also do well on the ACT and SAT. The district’s average score for both tests is slightly above the state’s average.

High schools within the district also offer AP classes to help high schoolers get ahead. These classes provide students with the chance for college credits. They can also help boost students’ GPAs. Students also can take college classes through the district’s Early College High School.   

Unique Feature

Middle School science fair in Brunswick school

Schools in the Brunswick County School District offer a lot of additional academic opportunities. These normally are small competitions students can choose to partake in. Here are a few of the academic competitions the district offers.

  • Battle of the Books- Middle School students read a select list of books and then are quizzed on what they read.
  • Elementary Battle of the Books- Elementary students read a list of select books and then answer questions about the books.
  • Science Fairs- 3rd through 12th graders are offered the opportunity to showcase their scientific discoveries.
  • Science Olympiad- K-12 students compete in different hands-on, interactive, challenging, and inquiry-based events in the scientific field.

Private Schools in Wilmington, North Carolina

Are you interested in a private school in Wilmington, North Carolina? We’re here to help! Here are the best private schools near Wilmington, NC.

Cape Fear Academy

Cape Fear Academy is a private school district in Wilmington, North Carolina. The district is non-sectarian and open to Pre-K through 12th graders. A little over 700 students enroll in the academy each year.


The school is located right in Wilmington, NC. The campus itself is on 47 acres of land and includes academic, athletic, and fine arts buildings. There are also multiple playgrounds, six tennis courts, two courtyards, and a greenhouse.

While this campus feels like a college campus, it’s just a daytime school. Students can walk to campus, get dropped off, or use the school’s bussing system.


The Cape Fear Academy has outstanding academic performances. Students score well above average on both the SAT and ACT. The average SAT in the district is 1350. The average ACT score is 30. These are both significantly above the state and national average.

Additionally, almost all high school students at the academy take AP classes. 92% of students pass the AP exams at the end of the year. This means a lot of students graduate with college credits. Within the district, 100% of high schoolers attend a four-year college after graduation.


Since this is a private school in Wilmington, there is a cost for attendance. This attendance varies depending on what grade your child is in. While there is a cost of attendance, the school also offers tuition waivers and scholarship opportunities. This helps ensure everyone can attend this school, no matter their financial status.

Here are the annual base tuition rates based on each grade level.

  • Pre-K and Kindergarten- $16,800
  • 1st-2nd Grade- $19,450
  • 3rd-5th Grade- $21,525
  • 6th-8th Grade- $23,500
  • 9th-12th Grade- $24,350

Unique Feature

This private school in Wilmington, NC is well known for involving students in the fine arts. Elementary school students take both general art and music classes to gain a base level of knowledge. From 6th grade through 12th grade, students can choose to further develop their music, art, and publication skills. They can take choir, band, publication, theatre, and visual art classes.

Students also have opportunities to take advanced classes within the music field. They can take AP Music theory and advanced topics in composition. This allows students opportunities to continuously advance their music knowledge.

Wilmington Christian Academy

Wilmington Christian Academy is a private school right in Wilmington, North Carolina. This Christian school is non-denominational and welcomes students from Pre-K through 12th grade. This district is home to just over 1,000 students.


This private school is located right in Wilmington, making it ideal if you live in town. The upper and lower education schools are located on the same campus. However, they do have different individual buildings for elementary school, middle school, and high school students.

The academy is also located near and shares land with the Faith Baptist Church. This offers students the option to be a part of the congregation there and to attend services. The church also has special student services once a week.


The Wilmington Christian Academy has above-average academic standings. The average score on the SAT is 1240, which is above the state average. Similarly, the average score on the ACT is 26. This is also well above the state average.

This district is also known for helping students prepare for college. 60% of students attend a 4-year college after graduating. High school students are offered help with college and career readiness while in school. This ensures they’re prepared to face the world after they graduate.


Since they’re a private school, they do charge annual tuition and additional fees. The fees are mainly for new students and registration fees to hold your spot each year. Here are the annual fees which are determined by your child’s age.

  • Kindergarten- $8,550
  • 1st-5th Grade- $8,550
  • 6th-8th Grade- $9,220
  • 9th-12th Grade- $9,220

The school also offers pre-school care which is charged by the week. The price per week for two-year-olds is $235. The price for three and four-year-olds is $225. This includes care from 6:45 am to 6 pm, lunch, snacks, and school supplies.

Unique Feature

Kids in a classroom during summer camp

This school is open year-round and offers summer day camps once school is out of session. These camps are offered to students in kindergarten through 9th grade. While at camp, kids will participate in a variety of activities such as library time, sports, indoor/outdoor games, and various off-site field trips. Students are also provided with a lunch every day while they’re at camp.

These summer day camps do cost a weekly tuition. Parents will only be charged per week, based on how many days their child attends each week. Here are the tuition prices for full-time and part-time campgoers.

  • Full-Time (3 or more days a week)- $185 per week
  • Part-Time (1-2 days a week)- $135 per week

Moving to Wilmington, North Carolina

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The city of Wilmington, North Carolina is full of both public schools and private schools for your children to attend.

If a public school is more your style New Hanover and Brunswick County Schools are good choices. New Hanover is ideal for families who want to go to school right in Wilmington, NC. Brunswick is a good option if you live on the outskirts of town or want your child to attend a slightly smaller school.

For those looking for private schools in Wilmington, Cape Fear Academy and Wilmington Christian Academy are solid choices. Cape Fear Academy may have a higher tuition cost, but it will help properly prepare your child for college. Wilmington Christian Academy is a nice smaller setting for your child to grow both their education and their faith.

No matter what you’re considering for your child, Wilmington has you covered. From public schools to private schools, you have multiple options to choose from.

Jessica is a students at the University of Northern Iowa. She is majoring in English Education with a creative writing minor. In her free time she loves to read books of every genre, write short stories, and spend time with friends. In the future she hopes to share her love for reading and writing with her future students.