From a kindergarten class of 20 preschoolers in 1955 to the current enrollment of more than 900 students, Saint James School has developed far beyond its origins as a small school operating in the classrooms of a local church to become a leading, independent institution of K-12 learning in Alabama's capital city. For more than 60 years, Montgomery parents have confidently chosen Saint James School to educate their children, prepare them for college, and inspire them to become the visionary leaders of tomorrow.
In the mid 1950s, the school opened its doors in the classrooms of Saint James Methodist Church, under the leadership of Dr. G. Stanley Frazer. While the church permitted the school to operate in its classrooms, Saint James School is, and has always been, independent of the church that shares its name.
Dr. Frazer's leadership and determination allowed the school to purchase property and open a second campus on Country Club Drive in 1970. This new campus provided classrooms and facilities to meet the needs of junior and senior high school students. By 1974, Saint James School had 951 students enrolled in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade and graduated its first high school class. The two campuses united in 1976 at the Country Club Drive location.
A visionary Board of Directors, inspired by the school's progress and prospects for future growth, leased a new facility on a 30-acre campus, in the city's booming eastern section in 1982. With classrooms to serve a K-12 student body, complete with football and baseball fields, the new facilities on Vaughn Road provided the key to the school's future development and expansion.
Winton Blount, benefactor of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (located across Vaughn Road from Saint James), endowed the school with $250,000 in matching dollars in 1984, to build a state-of-the art Fine Arts Building. Blount's commitment changed the future of Saint James by challenging school leaders to adopt a dedication to excellence in the fine arts. A strong performing and visual arts reputation is a hallmark characteristic of the school today.
The 1990s ushered in a string of state team sports championships for the school, beginning with the Trojans baseball team in 1991. Since then, Saint James athletes have won state championships in a variety of sports, including girls tennis, volleyball, baseball, golf, and softball.
A modern new high school building was constructed on the Vaughn Road campus in 1991. After a devastating tornado destroyed the school's elementary site on Vaughn Road (in the early morning hours on March 6, 1996) more construction was soon underway. Within 18 months, a new campus greeted returning students. Designed and organized like a small college campus, the modern facilities included a new middle school, a new high school building, a large gym, a performing arts building, as well as brand new elementary buildings. Both Saint James campuses were consolidated at the Vaughn Road site in 2002-03, enabling the co-location of elementary, middle, and high schools all at one site.
Just three years later, during 2005-2006, the school celebrated its golden anniversary with a day full of activities recognizing 50 years of education excellence. As Saint James looks towards the next 50 years, the school will continue to build on its firm historical foundation, while thoughtfully embracing the promising challenges of tomorrow.