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Saint Joseph Academy

A TK-12 Traditional Catholic School

Scire, Amare, et Servire Deo

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Message from the Board

Dear Friends,
Since the inception of St. Joseph Academy (formerly Sierra Madre Academy) in North San Diego in September 1995, the school has endeavored to assist in the mission of the Church by serving the spiritual and academic needs of Catholic families. St. Joseph Academy has always recognized the role that parents must fulfill as the primary educators of their children. The school strives to support this obligation by providing an environment where students can develop a well-formed conscience based on the traditional moral values held by the Church and a strong commitment to live in accordance with those values. Students who graduate from St. Joseph Academy will be well prepared to go forth into society as strong witnesses and disciples of Christ.
With the support of parents, the school provides an excellent curriculum along with the finest spiritual formation based on strict adherence to the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is a classical education that is devoted to blending faith and reason through the cultivation of both the moral and religious aspects of character along with intellectual excellence. The focus is to nurture and form the whole child: intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and emotional.
Subjects of study are presented not only as knowledge to be attained, but also values to be acquired and truth to be discovered. Depth is given to the students' ability to reason which enhances their ability to make distinctions and good judgments. Students are taught to recognize truth, goodness and beauty, and to discern these from the false, the evil, and the sordid. They are instilled with the essence of the Faith, loyalty to the Church and an active love and desire to serve God. Only with this well-rounded education, based on truth, can we prepare our children to take up their lives as responsible, competent, charitable and professional young men and women who are committed to live by Christian principles.
From Transitional Kindergarten through 12th grade, St. Joseph Academy provides an academic foundation that will enable students to further their lives and careers. However, education is not just a tool or a stepping stone to the next social level or to the riches of the world. Rather, the knowledge gained must prepare the soul for its ultimate destiny of eternal life with God in heaven.
The goals of St. Joseph Academy are lofty, yet for the last 22 years the parents, administrators and faculty have labored to bring them to fruition. The success has been tremendous. We look forward to continuing to fulfill our goals and hope that you will join us on our journey. 
Sincerely in Christ,
The Board of Directors of St. Joseph Academy

Board of Directors

Deacon Frank J. Mercardante, Chairman of the Board
Deacon Frank was appointed SJA Chairman of the Board in 2015. Frank Mercardante is serving the Church as a deacon at Saint Mark’s parish in San Marcos, CA. He was ordained in 1987 by Bishop Leo T. Maher.  He previously served at Holy Trinity parish in Springfield, MO and Saint Francis of Assisi parish in Vista, CA.

Deacon Mercardante brings a wealth of experience having worked 45 years in the banking and financial services industry.  During his career he started, managed and sold financial institutions of all sizes, including a $2.6 billion bank in Sacramento, CA. and a $6.5 billion thrift in the Midwest.  He has engineered the turnaround of a number of troubled financial institutions, saving shareholders and tax payers millions of dollars.  He has also started, managed and or sold numerous mortgage, escrow, title, trust, insurance and computer servicing businesses.

Deacon Mercardante has served on numerous Boards including Tri-City Hospital Foundation, Catholic Charities of San Diego, Casa de Amparo, Poinsettia Theatre for the Performing Arts, Western Independent Bankers Association, and John Paul the Great Catholic University. In addition to Saint Joseph Academy, he also serves as Spiritual Director for Covenantal Family Ministries, a director of New Haven Youth and Family Services, and Culture of Life Family Services.

Deacon Mercardante joined the SJA Board of Directors in 2013 and resides in Temecula, Ca. with his wife of 41 years.  He has two children and four grandchildren.

Ned Heiskell
Ned has served as a Board member for many years and has been involved with the school since 1997. He served on both the building and fundraising committees for the permanent campus and was heavily involved in the design, financing and construction of the existing campus. Currently, he is heading up the building committee for the second phase of construction which will include a new gymnasium, chapel and additional classrooms.

Ned and his wife, Kathy, have four children, Kaitlyn, Madeline, Abigail and Max. Currently, two are SJA students (Abigail and Max) and two graduates: Kaitlyn who recently graduated from Northern Arizona University and Madeline who is a Sophomore at Belmont University.

Ned’s “day job” is to serve as the President and CEO of N.N. Jaeschke, Inc., a San Diego area management company of condominiums and homeowner associations.

Jon Wester
Jon Wester is a Contracts Branch Head at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego. He began his career in Defense Procurement in 1991 at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia as a Navy Acquisition Intern. During his career, Jon has served two overseas rotational assignments: first as Contracting Officer at the Naval Regional Contracting Center in Naples, Italy, where he handled base operations support contracts for U.S. Navy Ashore Facilities in the Mediterranean, and then later as the Director of Afloat Contracting in Yokosuka, Japan where he led a multi-national contracting team handling U.S. Navy ship repair and aircraft maintenance procurements. Jon holds an M.BA. with a concentration in Contracts Management from the Florida Institute if Technology and a B.A. in Linguistics (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of California, San Diego.

Jon met his wife Pia while in high school exchange student in Santiago, Chile. They have seven children, all who have attended SJA. The oldest, Christopher graduated in 2006 and the youngest, Ana, belongs to the the SJA Class of 2019. Jon has been an SJA parent since 1997. He was active for many years on the annual SJA Spring Gala committee and assisted with fundraising for the permanent campus. Jon joined the board in 2015.

Barbara De La Torre   
Barbara De La Torre was one of the two original founders of St. Joseph Academy (previously Sierra Madre Academy) in 1995. She served as Chairman of the Board until 2013.

Barbara received her R.N., B.S.N. from California State University, Long Beach and worked (part time) as a nurse until 1997. She served on several committees in the city of Oceanside to affect change in policy related to moral issues during this time.

Barbara continues to be active at St. Joseph Academy in marketing and program/curriculum development. She serves as adviser for the SJA High School "Crusaders for Life" club and co-adviser for the "The Great Outdoors" club.

Barbara and her husband, David, are blessed with eight children: Vince, Joe, Tony, Julie, Mary, Johnny, Clare and Sara. Their three eldest have graduated from the University of Dallas, their fourth is working, fifth is a Sophomore at the University of Dallas and their last three are currently students at St. Joseph Academy.

Jerry Hill
Jerry is a new board member in 2015 but certainly not new to Saint Joseph’s Academy. He and his wife Heidi are original family members of Sierra Madre Academy in 1995. Jerry was actively involved in the maintenance of the former campus, coordinating the construction of the sports field and playground. He enjoyed giving talks about plants and trees to the younger kids. He was also involved in the first WASC accreditation of the school. His wife Heidi taught Health classes in the early years.

Jerry and his wife Heidi have two children ages 27 and 24. Both attended SJA with the younger daughter graduating in 2010. Son J.T. is a graduate of Cal State San Marcos and works at the University and daughter Kari is a graduate of the University of Portland currently working in the I.T. field in the Sorrento Valley and an aspiring writer.

In the working world Jerry is the Operations Manager for the City of Mission Viejo tasked with maintaining the city’s infrastructure and assets. Jerry has enjoyed a 35 year career in public service working for various agencies. 

Jerry also serves as an elected official on the Vista Fire Protection District Board of Directors, currently serving as president. He and his wife Heidi are Eucharistic Minister Coordinators for Saint Marks Catholic Church and also serve the Catholic Diocese of San Diego as facilitators for marriage preparation classes - Evenings for the Engaged - for over 17 years.  

Amy Clow
Amy Clow has had children attending St. Joseph Academy since 2008 and joined the board in 2016. Amy is a small business owner of two retail yogurt shops. She employs many SJA students as part time staff. Amy received her R.N., B.S.N. from Point Loma Nazarene University and worked as a Pediatric Intensive Care nurse until 1999.

With her husband, Marty, they are blessed with eight children - Corey (graduated SJA 2013), Timothy (2015), Madison (2017), Alyssa (11th grade), Emma (8th), Noah (7th), Joshua (3rd), and Christian (1st).

Amy has participated in the SJA Parent Association, worked on the gala committee, and the Booster Club. She annually chaperones on the San Francisco Pro Life walk. She assists the school in many activities including team Mom for sports teams, bake sales, driver for activities and organizes fundraisers.
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