Principal Message – Why SJHS

Welcome to St. Joseph High School; we are delighted to welcome you to the 2024-2025 school year.  We are proud to invite our family back this year.  I say family, because that is who we strive to be as Knights; it’s important to belong to a family of like-minded people. Too many places in our great country are divided by an ideological extremism that makes working together for a common goal seem impossible when fettered by in-fighting and misunderstanding. At St. Joseph High School, we put Jesus at the center of our school and decisions. We believe in faith, family, and country as our central, driving tenets. This focus means that although we may not always agree, our priorities and values are the underpinnings of a deep respect that keeps division from challenging our progress and goals

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 100% of our traditional graduates are prepared for college (meeting the “a-g” standards and competencies required to be considered for admission to all UC and Cal State 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, UC Berkeley, and many other wonderful colleges and universities.

We also have a STEP program to ensure a path to educational success for diverse learners. As a school, we are proud to have a full-time STEP coordinator, study labs, and STEP plans to provide support and or needed educational adjustments that could also be implemented when our students move on to college.

It’s a great time to be a Knight, and I would like to personally invite you to come to our campus to discuss if our values, community, and academics are the right fit for your student and family.  It matters where you attend high school, and we are so pleased to be considered as your choice.

Yours in Education,

Erinn Dougherty, M.A.Ed., M.Ed., Ed.D.(ABD), CPSA
Head of School, St. Joseph High School, Archdiocese of Los Angeles


About Erinn Dougherty

Erinn has been dedicated to the field of education for over 25 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 and her family relocated to the Central Coast to join the St. Joseph High School family in 2018.

photo courtesy of Kylie Sheldon Photography © 2024