Bishop Rudolph B. Lewis became Pastor of New Light Baptist Church in August 1979. When he was first introduced to the New Light Community, he knew that this was the place that God had called him to be. Bishop Lewis saw first-hand some of the many problems the New Light community was faced with: 16% of the houses were uninhabitable; 53% of the neighborhood properties were undeveloped; 39% of the residential housing units were substandard; lack of public facilities for water, sewer, streets, and lights; crime / drug activity in the neighborhood; lack of community activities; 8% vacancy rate; one-third of the homes were female-headed households; 36% of the residents were elderly; and 24% were handicapped/disabled. Bishop Lewis chose not to be a spectator but to get involved and be an agent for change. The demand for help was great but the resources were few so Bishop Lewis’ vision for helping the community was to develop support groups that would extend beyond the walls of New Light Baptist Church. One of the support groups he established was the New Light Baptist School of Excellence.

In August 1989, New Light Baptist School of Excellence was created, under the leadership of Elder Lewis, as the first African-American private Religious Exempt Christian Day Care in Virginia Beach to utilize the A Beka Curriculum ®. Our mission is to be a holistic model for education and training in equipping children to be excellent in spirit, mind, and body. Today, New Light Baptist School of Excellence is still standing and has not wavered from its focus on keeping that mission. With the Grace of God and the support from our church, we have survived “the economic test of times” in spite of the downturn, the banks stringent standards on lending, and the numerous closings of private schools universally. Bishop Lewis transitioned on October 16, 2018. However, the New Light Baptist School of Excellence continues to carry out his vision.