Saint James Elementary School's history dates back to 1867, when a spirited priest, Rev. John F. Salaun, established a school in the church basement and placed it in charge of a woman named Miss Thompson. However, the school proved to be too great of a burden and was discontinued after two years of operation.
In 1876, the Rev. Michael E. Kane assumed the pastorate of Saint James Church and served the faithful for fifteen busy years. Three years after his arrival, on June 8, 1879, the new Saint James parochial school was opened at the Pearl and Wall Saint site. Not being able to obtain teaching Sisters, he secured the services of lay people as teachers. In 1888, three Sisters of Mercy came to take charge of the school. The Sisters continued to head our school until 1983.
On July 3, 1927, the cornerstone was laid for the new grammar and high school building — the present Red Bank Catholic High School. The cost of building this new location was $175,000. The old church property on Pearl and Wall Streets were sold for $50,000 to help defray some of the costs of the new building. The new school was to be erected on the south side of the church.
Then, in the fall of 1946, extensive repairs were done to the school building, and a new central heating plant and garage building were erected. With the school population increasing at an accelerated pace, Bishop Wm. Griffin of Trenton decided to erect, a temporary classroom building on the school grounds to house the grammar school. This would separate the grammar school classes from the high school classes in the main building. This temporary building was of prefabricated wooden construction and was intended to be replaced by a permanent structure five years later. It actually stood for fifteen years and was dismantled in 1961 to make way for the new Saint James Grammar School, which now stands on Peters Place.
In September of 1953, Monsignor Monahan was placed in charge of Saint James Parish. The pressing need at that time was for a permanent grammar school building. Six properties were obtained at the present church site. The property at 17-19 Drummond Place, which was acquired in 1955, was turned into four classrooms immediately and has served grammar and high school purposes ever since. Five properties were razed to make way for the erection of the new Saint James auditorium-gymnasium. The new school was dedicated on December 11, 1960.
The new school cost approximately one and a quarter million dollars to build and another $150,000 to furnish. It was comprised of twenty-four classrooms, with complete administration facilities, a library, and the auditorium-gymnasium. The cafeteria, seating more than 600, had a completely furnished kitchen and continues to serve both schools for lunch.
In 1983, Mrs. Maureen Hintelmann, a teacher at Saint James, became principal, a position she held until 1997. During her long and ambitious tenure, Mrs. Hintelmann accomplished many great things, including the introduction of the Reading Resource Program in 1984. She also started the Preschool Program for four-year-olds in 1991. The Saint James Preschool program has now expanded to include classes for three and five year olds. Full day Kindergarten was introduced in 1992 as well as the Extended Day Program (EDP), which was created to meet the needs of the busy families of Saint James who desire supplementary after-school care. Staffed with teachers and aides, the program provides homework help, snack, and recreation. 2011 brings us a 5 day program for four years olds and the inception of an early mornng child care program for the preschool children.
The Royals Club was founded and run by Tom McGrath and John Boruzzi. As an integral part of the PTA, The Royals Club is open to all male family members and guardians of Saint James students.
In keeping with the fast-paced times, the first Computer Science Program was introduced to Saint James students in 1992. Headed by Mrs. Kathy Vassallo, who has since passed away, the comprehensive Computer Program brought the exciting and challenging world of high-tech directly to the Saint James students. In keeping with this high-tech tradition, Math and Computer Labs were brought to Saint James in 1995. Mrs. Hintelmann also planted the seeds of the Development Program in 1993.
Mrs. Janet Dolan was named Principal of Saint James School in 1997. Prior to her promotion, Mrs. Dolan was Vice Principal since 1993. She also served as the 6th and 7th Grade Religion Teacher and the Sacramental Coordinator for the school. Mrs. Dolan first joined the staff of Saint James in 1989, when she was a Third Grade Teacher until 1993. Mrs. Dolan has had numerous accomplishments since taking the helm in 1997, including expanding the school's curriculum to focus on individualized programs to better meet students' needs. The curriculum expansion includes the addition of Pre-Algebra and Algebra, an Advanced Integrated Arts Program, and Spanish from Preschool through 8th Grade. Mrs. Dolan also supplemented Saint James' after-school activities with the addition of After School Clubs for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade, and the new Drama Club, Challenge+ Program as well as Service Program. She has also expanded the Leadership Program with the Peer to Peer Program in 2003, The Royal Ambassadors in 1998 and the “Give Back" Program in 1997.
In 2001, Mrs. Maureen Waters, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed School Social Worker, joined the Saint James staff. Mrs. Waters is available to children and parents who are experiencing emotional, social, and behavioral challenges.
Other significant expansions have taken place under Mrs. Dolan's authority: the school now has complete Internet access, and laptop computers on rolling carts are available to the students. She has expanded Professional Development for the teachers, and the Resource Program has been enhanced. The Math Resource Program is now available to Grades 1 through 5, and Reading is open to Grades K through 7.
There have also been several notable capital improvements. Because of very successful PTA fundraisers, all furniture in the school has recently been replaced, the library was renovated in 2001, and the playground was refurbished in 2000. In addition, Saint James School now has two computer labs and over 50 computers school wide. Building security has been upgraded, school lockers have been installed for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, and the Principal's Office and the Business Office were renovated in 2000.
After a long and successful tenure as principal, Mrs. Dolan retired in July 2011, passing the torch of leadership and guidance of its students and many treasured traditions to a new principal Mr. William A. Cardone and new Vice-principal Mrs. JoAnn Giordano.
Mr. Cardone comes to Saint James School with a wealth of teaching and administrative experience. Born and raised in northern New Jersey he and his wife currently reside in Toms River. Mr. William A. Cardone holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Elementary education from Upsala College. Mr. Cardone also holds a Master’s Degree in Supervision, Administration and Curriculum Development from Georgian Court University. Mr. Cardone’s experience in education spans 36 years. During that time he has been a classroom teacher, Instructional Supervisor, Elementary Principal and Assistant Superintendent of Schools. He was named Principal of Saint James Elementary School in August of 2011.
While visiting our school and hearing our morning prayers and announcements, you will discover that we are a community dedicated to teaching our children how to care for and respect each other. Each day Mr. Cardone starts off the day with students, teachers, staff and visitors by requesting that we start the day with kindness and respect for each other. We begin this process with our youngest students, and we continue guiding them as they move through the elementary grades. Our faculty and our parents work as a team to provide a caring, responsive, and empathetic environment for our children.
We are also honored to have a new vice-principal, Mrs. JoAnn Giordano. Mrs. Giordano joined our Saint James family as vice principal to Mr. Cardone in September 2011.
Mrs. Giordano has been an educator in the Diocese of Trenton for 14 years coming from Saint Leo the Great School in Lincroft. Her teaching career began in 1997 as a fourth grade teacher and later went on to teach first grade. As Director of Early Childhood Education at Saint Leo’s, Mrs. Giordano brings with her a wealth of experience in preschool, kindergarten, parent education and staff development. Her knowledge and experience will be an invaluable resource to our staff and families.
Mrs. Giordano holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Brooklyn College, a Master’s of Arts Teaching Degree from Monmouth University, and a Master’s of Science in Education from Monmouth University.
As an educational leader, Mrs. Giordano firmly believes that effective communication, problem-solving skills and the integration of technology are essential to prepare our learners to succeed in the 21 st Century. To achieve this, she is passionate about fostering learning environments that are rigorous, student centered, collaborative and innovative. Ultimately, ensuring our students receive the highest quality education, as well as the opportunity to grow on a spiritual and social-emotional level.
Saint James continues to be a thriving faith filled school that is committed to preparing our students for a future that demands critical thinking and problem solving skills. To that end the administrative team of Mr. Cardone and Mrs. Giordano has updated curriculum material in science and introduced smaller class sizes. Extra math periods have also been added to the schedule allowing for extended instructional time. The middle school math, Spanish and social studies curriculum materials have also been updated to better meet the needs of students who thrive in a digital world. The math, science and social studies textbooks all have an online component to support and expand on the learning material.
Resources and opportunities for Professional Development were expanded to afford teachers ample occasions to advance and strengthen their instructional strategies. Opportunities were expanded to include online courses. All teachers are now also required to complete a Catechist course to support teachers’ personal and educational spiritual development.
Updating the technology infrastructure and the addition of laptops and tablets has been accomplished with Mrs. Giordano’s guidance and collaboration with teachers. Students and teachers are now able to seamlessly use technology in their learning and instruction.
Under the direction of Mrs. Giordano the preschool program continues to grow. A Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program has been added providing students time to acquire the necessary social and academic skills to experience success in school. A new reading program has also been added to the preschool 4 year old and TK program.
Mrs. Giordano’s commitment to build community relations has also inspired the creation of a free preschool program called Read, Rock & Roll! Read, Rock & Roll! is a free enrichment program designed for non-Saint James School students. It gives parents/caretakers the opportunity to explore Saint James Preschool Program, while giving children the opportunity to participate in educational activities.
In June 2015, Mrs. Giordano became the principal of Saint James School. She continues to guide the school with passion, a philosophy of inclusiveness, a vision toward continued improvement, and a commitment to the spiritual formation of students.
In August 2015 Saint James was fortunate to have a new vice principal. Mrs. Catherine Golden is now a member of the Saint James Community. She has 22 years of teaching experience in both public and Catholic schools. During her teaching career, Mrs. Golden chaired a variety of Diocesan Committees, and researched and developed curriculum for best practices. She was also responsible for mentoring new teachers and participated in developing emergency procedures.
Saint James is more than just a school. It’s a place where individuals come together to build relationships, make memories, and feel connected.
The faces, enrollment and building structure have changed in the last 130 years, but not the commitment of the school to the education of children in our Catholic tradition.
Saint James currently enrolls over 400 students in grades preschool through eight. Under the leadership of a lay principal, vice-principal, and professional staff, the mission of educating the whole child within the framework of Catholic faith and teaching continues into the 21 st century.