Principal Message – Why SJHS

Welcome to St Joseph High School. I am delighted about your interest in our school. You may be asking yourself, “Why St. Joseph High School?” During these unprecedented times, it’s important to belong to a family of like-minded people. While we are not able to physically return to “normal” campus life on August 17th as originally planned– we have a fully articulated plan to have a safer return to campus on the very first date we are available.

While we are in the distance learning modality, our superior distance learning plan mimics the experience of being physically in school through real-time teaching and interaction. This is an experience you will not be able to replicate at any other school. As you know, last spring, we were the only school who didn’t miss one day of learning. We have improved upon that model with our plans for fall. We are smaller and nimbler; we aren’t trying to steer the Titanic and hoping to miss an iceberg — we are steering our sleek speedboat towards the finish line of academic excellence in any and every modality.

Grounded in the liberal arts of the Trivium and Quadrivium, St. Joseph High School seeks to give students the tools to live a full life, becoming critical thinkers beyond the classroom. Through a Josephite Liberal Arts curriculum, we provide students these tools, which include the ability to reason from premise to conclusion, to distinguish, to articulate, and to persuade. These educational methods, which have produced outstanding men and women who have fashioned our world in the first and second Christian millennia, will continue to form young people who are capable of excellence and leadership in all arenas of life, fully armed to meet the challenges of the third millennium. All teaching and learning are tied to our motto, which is to prepare our students to image Christ in mind, heart, body, and soul.

Fads in education tied to political or common core standards exclusively can ignore the fundamental critical thinking necessary for success in post-secondary matriculation and career. We aren’t mandated to “teach to a test” or in a politically motivated trend. Rather, the Josephite Liberal Arts curriculum is infused in all St. Joseph pedagogy and instructional design and delivery to prepare students to construct knowledge through rhetoric and critical thought.

The school is divided into 3 divisions: humanities, mathematics and sciences, and languages and cultures. Division chairs meet weekly as a group with administration and with their respective divisions to ensure alignment between instructional objectives, assessment, and feedback. All curricular decisions are led by this Academic Council to ensure traditional rigor to meet the needs of all students.

In addition to the schedule of classes, students are also scheduled for Academic Seminars with their respective teachers during office hours for supplemental academic guidance in their courses. Students are selected for Academic Seminars by parent request, teacher request, or academic need.

Maybe all of this support is why our 100% of our graduates are prepared for college (meeting the “a-g” standards and competencies required to be considered for admission to all UC and CalState schools). That’s a number over 50% higher than any other local school, charter or public. Or maybe it’s our Christ-centered approach to all decision making. Maybe it’s our traditional approach to curricular design, coupled with technological innovation in instructional delivery. Whatever the reason, we are proud to have partnered with wonderful students and families to foster these successes. and prepare students who went on to successfully attend Stanford, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Columbia, Brown, Berkeley, and many other wonderful colleges and universities.

It’s a great time to be a Knight, and I would like to personally invite you to come to our campus to meet us, or visit us if you are an alumKnight or friend of the school. Come join us for a Mass, one of our monthly Principal Coffee Talks, a tailgating event, or an athletic contest.

It matters where you attend high school, and we are so pleased to be the premiere choice serving students in the area.

Yours in Education,

Erinn Dougherty, M.A.Ed., M.Ed., Ed.D.(ABD), CPSA
Principal, St. Joseph High School, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
The core value of St. Joseph High School is to image Christ in mind, heart, body, and soul.


“May you know how to put yourself out cheerfully, discreetly and generously each day, serving others and making their lives more pleasant. To act in this way is to practice the true charity of Jesus Christ.” -Saint Josemaria Escriva

About Erinn Dougherty

Erinn has been dedicated to the field of education for 20 years; she’s worked in Catholic schools, public high schools and middle schools, universities, and arts programs in many capacities: a full-time school administrator, a tenure-track faculty member at a university, a curriculum developer, and an English teacher (both Advance Placement and International Baccalaureate trained). She has maintained these roles in addition to being an adjunct professor in several graduate colleges of education and as an educational consultant specializing in faculty and staff professional development and curriculum design solutions. She is elated to bring her skills as an educational leader to St. Joseph High School and to partner with families to ensure their students’ success. Along with teachers and staff, Erinn strives to continue the success established by previous administration by building strong relationships with parents, students, faculty, staff, Archdiocesan and Josephite communities, and with community partners. Erinn relocated to the Central Coast with her husband, their daughter, and their dogs (Hamlet and Opheilia) to join the St. Joseph High School family in 2018.

photo courtesy of Whitney Turner Photography © 2019