Teachers at St. Sebastian STEM Academy, Sturtevant, have been preparing their classrooms for the school’s first year, which began this week. (Photo by Larry Hanson)

Two formerly shuttered archdiocesan Catholic schools plan to reopen in the next two years, with one as soon as the 2023-24 school year.


After closing St. Sebastian School, Sturtevant, in 2012, the parish deeply felt the loss of their school, explained Amanda McCauley, new Principal of St. Sebastian STEM Academy, a Siena Catholic School. The first day of school at St. Sebastian was Tuesday, Aug. 22.


“The reopening of St. Sebastian’s was in discussion for years, even prior to Siena being established,” McCauley said. “The lack of a Catholic school between the city of Racine and Burlington highlighted the need.”


After months of planning, researching population trends and current Siena Catholic Schools enrollment trends; and after collaboration between Siena, St. Sebastian and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, officials announced the reopening at the end of the last school year.


“Work to prepare the building began immediately,” said McCauley. “The fact that there is no record of an Archdiocese of Milwaukee school reopening shows just how rare this opportunity is, and we are excited to find great success at St. Sebastian STEM Academy.”


It took months to prepare the school for reopening. All the classrooms. offices and the gym were emptied of items that had accumulated over the past decade. Additionally, they needed to complete asbestos abatement, install new windows and lighting, paint all rooms, install the technology infrastructure and a new fire/sprinkler system, and install new flooring.


Additionally, they purchased new classroom furniture and Newline technology in all classrooms. They also completed renovations to the main office, principal’s office, library, restrooms, kitchen and teachers’ lounge.


“On the admissions side, open houses were held routinely, and mailings were done to attract interested families. Work continues to be done to strengthen the relationship between St. Sebastian Parish and St. Sebastian STEM Academy,” said McCauley. “To that end, the parishioners have been instrumental in this reopening, whether that be through volunteering to clean or spreading the word about the school opening. We could not have done this without their passion and hard work. It has taken the vision and hard work of many to make this a reality.”


Currently, 35 students are enrolled for the 2023-24 school year in grades K3-K5. Plans are to add one grade each year through eighth grade.


“We are offering Project Lead the Way curriculum starting at K3. Our teachers have been trained in PLTW Launch and we will be offering six different modules for our starting grades of K3, K4 and K5,” said McCauley. “We will also be incorporating STEM ideals, including inquiry, collaboration and hands-on learning across all subject areas. We want our students to be problem solvers who are ready to solve life’s challenges.”


Parents are excited to offer their children a Catholic education in Sturtevant. McCauley said families have told her they are looking forward to being a part of the growth of the school.


“We already had our first Home and School Meeting, and I am so excited for the events this school year has in store,” she said.


St. James School


St James in Mukwonago is schedules to open for the 2024-25 school year. The school closed 12 years ago, and fortunately, the school building is in good condition, said Grover Green, the new principal.


Formerly from Houston, Texas, Green served at an all-boys Catholic high school as a part-time administrator and full-time teacher. He created positions in student activities, campus ministry and created the school “house” program.


“The new pastor, Fr. Jordan Berghouse, wanted to seize the opportunity to revitalize the parish as Mukwonago is a burgeoning suburb community with many new families moving into the area,” he said. “Indeed, the public schools are bursting at the seams with children and the time seems to be right to attract new families to the parish.”


St. James will begin with Pre-K through fifth grade students with plans to add a middle school. This will be the first officially recognized school in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that will focus on classical education utilizing the liberal arts model.


“Paraphrasing the renowned educator Charlotte Mason, true education is not as much about how much students learn but rather how much they care about what they have learned; it is not as much about what students do with the information but rather what the information does to the students,” said Green.


Classical education engages students’ innate wonder through “great books” or the seven liberal arts (the arts of word: grammar, logic and rhetoric; and the arts of number: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music) to pursue perennial human questions about truth, virtue and beauty so as to live virtuously.


“Ultimately, the goal of this model is what is most important: the student’s exercise of true freedom through virtue,” said Green. “Classical education is liberal in the sense that the student is liberated from ignorance and free to fully engage his gifts, talents and potential for the glory of God. It is a gradual process that continues for a lifetime, the groundwork laid in sacred seeds early in youth that then bears fruit in the maturing of the student.”


Passionate about Catholic and classical education, Green is excited to be part of St. James School.


“The parish is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of the school reopening,” he said. “I am very excited to be here at St. James. My wife is from Wisconsin, and I am also happy to be back for her.”