History of St. Therese School

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On June 2, 1963, Bishop James J. Navagh laid the cornerstone for St. Therese School. Reverend Leo Lambert was pastor of St. Therese parish at that time. Our school officially opened that September. Grades 1 – 4 were accommodated the first year with an enrollment of approximately 180 students. Each year a new class was added until grades 1 through 8 were enrolled. The school was staffed by the Dominican Sisters from Newburgh, New York.

St. Therese School prospered for ten years under the Dominican leadership and for fifteen years under the guidance of the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco. During the early years of the Salesian administration, a kindergarten was added with two half-day sessions.

By 1988, St. Therese School was staffed entirely by lay teachers with a religious principal, Sr. Jean Makovsky of the School Sisters of St. Francis. In September 1990 our school family was led by Sr. Jean Cordis Mangin, a Sister of Charity of St. Elizabeth.

From 1992 till 2010, Sr. Mary Elizabeth Davies, also a Sister of Charity, has served as principal of St. Therese School. In 1994, a full day kindergarten and an after school care program for grades K-5 were added.

On April 27, 1995 St. Therese School received their Middle States Accreditation. They formulated an action plan which would span the next three years. This plan included the expansion of our school facility and ongoing staff development. In March, 1997 the existing convent was renovated and the school expansion had begun.

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September 8, 1997 brought a great change to the school as it opened its first Pre-Kindergarten program for three and four year olds. Four year olds attended (and continue to attend) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and three year olds on Tuesday and Thursday. Morning and afternoon sessions were (and still are) offered (8:30am – 11:00pm and 12:00pm – 2:30pm). The library and computer rooms were expanded and opened in September as well.

St. Therese School was awarded a re-accreditation in April 2005 by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools through May 2015.

In addition, on June 12, 2008 the school received its “Star School” award from the Paterson Diocese. This acknowledges St. Therese as a school that promotes high student achievement and has an identifiable specialization which addresses the educational services and needs of the students. The faculty is engaged in professional development and there is administrative and fiscal efficiency demonstrated in the educational program. Outstanding performance is measured in terms of student results and school accomplishments and there are collaborative efforts with parents, parish and community.

On July 1, 2010, Mrs. Lisa Hirschfeld was appointed principal. She was the school’s first lay principal. In summer of 2016, Mr. Timothy Dunnigan was appointed principal. With many years of tradition behind us we look forward to the future with its challenges and rewards, confident that we will continue to prosper and fulfill our mission as educators of the children of God.