In 1995, Patricia Hansen and Barbara De La Torre were Catholic mothers longing for a school in San Diego North County that would provide their children with solid academics and faith formation with an integrated K-12 curriculum. Taking to heart the fact that the Church recognizes parents as the primary educators of their children, and with the blessing of San Diego Bishop Robert H. Brom, they founded Sierra Madre Academy in a small commercial building in San Marcos.
During that first year, 25 students attended in grades one to through nine. There were four full-time teachers and a volunteer secretary. In the second year, with word of mouth as its only marketing tool, the school tripled its enrollment to 77 students. In 1997, the school leased additional space at an "upper campus," a strip mall located across a vacant field, to accommodate more students. Each year more space was leased at the upper campus until there was a classroom for each grade and one computer classroom. Enrollment leveled off at around 200 students.
In 2000, the school negotiated a lease for the vacant three-acre lot between the two campuses. With all-volunteer labor and mostly donated materials, parents cleaned up and fenced in the area, installed irrigation, and planted grass. The result: a play field that has allowed the school to expand its athletic and recreational opportunities. At the same time, portions of the upper campus parking lot were fenced off for a basketball court.
In September of 2008, we opened our school's new campus under the new name of Saint Joseph Academy. Our new campus includes 3 buildings supporting 13 classrooms, a computer room and administration offices. Our enrollment has reached over 280 students. Our school is the only complete K-12 school that teaches the Catholic faith in San Diego county; we provide an integrated curriculum that will prepare students for higher education and passes on the essential teachings of the Roman Catholic faith.