St. John the Baptist Catholic School, or SJB, is a TK through 8th grade private school located in Costa Mesa, California with robust academic programs.We have been providing a traditional Catholic school education centered on our faith and Gospel values for over 60 years. Our faculty and staff are dedicated Catholic school educators who understand the importance of setting the example of walking like Christ. All of our classroom instruction and activities support Catholic traditions and provide our children with an environment that nurtures their individual gifts and talents. Our campus is blessed with a full-time Norbertine priest and six Norbertine sisters providing daily support both in the classroom and across the campus. St. John’s has a caring, Catholic community of diverse families that celebrate their faith together all year long.
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St. John the Baptist School was opened in 1959 as a parish school of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. This congregation, founded by the Venerable Catherine McAuley, was established to serve the poor and provide a quality Catholic education for children.
Sister Dolores served as the founding principal from 1959 until 1969, followed by Sister Annunciata leading the school from 1969 until 1975. Serving as principal, Sister Mary Vianney Ennis continued the great leadership of her predecessors. She dedicated herself to enhance the quality of St. John's Catholic education until her retirement in 2015.
In 1976 the Diocese of Orange was erected by Blessed Pope Paul VI, and consequently the school came under the jurisdiction of the diocese. In 2002 the Norbertine Fathers from St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado began to administer to the parish of St. John the Baptist. The Norbertine Order was founded in 1121 by St. Norbert of Xanten and has been educating youth for about nine centuries. The charism of the Mercy Sisters regarding education and the Norbertine Fathers' close involvement in the school ensured the continuation of the school's long tradition of faith and academic excellence.
In 2015, after 40 years as principal, Sister Vianney retired and returned back to her native land of Ireland. Mrs. Paula Viles, previously the vice-principal, became the current principal of St. John’s, and she is continuing, along with Father Damien Giap, the school’s rector, the rich tradition of faith and academic excellence begun with the Mercy Sisters. The 2019 arrival of the Norbertine Sisters from Sts. Peter and Paul in Wilmington, California benefited the school community greatly. In addition to living onsite at the convent, the sisters hold a variety of teaching positions and other duties at the school. This gives our students the very unique experience of having both religious fathers and sisters as a part of their overall education.