St. James School located at 140 North Avenue in Highwood, under
the pastorhood of Rev. F. J. Magner, opened its doors on September
15, 1925 to 159 students from the Highwood community. The
sisters of Loretto, under the direction of Sister Mary Sylvester,
the first principal, assumed teaching responsibilities at St. James
School. Graduates from the class of 1926 included : Margaret
Jacks, Doris Kehoe, Katherine McLeran, Richard O’Connor,
Edward Steffin, and Elizabeth Welsh.
In 1949, four classrooms were added to the school to ease the crowded
conditions. A modern convent was also built to house the Sisters
of Loretto, who had been commuting from Highland Park. In 1958,
eight-classroom addition was built under the director of Reb. Msgr.
James D. Gleeson. A paved parking lot, a playground area, a
library and a community auditorium were also constructed at this time.
The Sisters of Loretto continued their teaching duties until 1968.
When Rev. Joseph Curielli became pastor, the School Sisters of Notre
Dame, under Sister Carmel Marie, assumed the teaching responsibilities.
A year later Sister Julie became principal . In 1980, Mrs. Jean
O’Brien took over as principal. A preschool program was
instituted in 1983. She remained principal until 1993 when Ms. Mary Kay
Tschanz became principal. Mary Kay Tschanz was principal from 1993
until 2011 when she lost the fight after a long battle with ALS.
Mrs. Deborah Dedeo became principal in 2011 and continues to serve as
the principal for St. James School. Fr. Thomas Baldonieri is pastor of St. James Church.
St. James School has a proud tradition of academic excellence.
Students are exposed to a diverse, quality educational experience which
includes an emphasis upon the basics and which encourages
decision-making, creativity, coping, and a sense of responsibility.
Additionally, it is an extension of the family. The faculty at St.
James strives to work with the parents to instill in each child solid
Catholic values: integrity, honesty, self-discipline and respect for self