We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do!


It’s a great day to be a Trojan. On select Fridays, our students, faculty, and staff sport their favorite STJ spirit wear. Some students choose their favorite team t-shirt, jersey, or polo. Our elementary students cheer on the Trojans in STJ cheerleader uniforms and spirit jerseys. We are in a sea of blue and gold!

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Fall is in the air (even if the weather doesn’t feel that way)! Students, grades PreK-3 through 12, can’t wait for football season. Seven days to go… but who’s counting? Join us next Friday as Saint James faces Bayside Academy at 7pm on Carlisle field on the STJ campus. Go Trojans!



Pre-K3 is the place to be!

Did you know Saint James was originally founded as a preschool? Our roots, dating back to the 1950s, are in early childhood education. We are honored to be the River Region’s experts on the emotional, social, and academic needs of this precious age. Our PreK-3 students met on the preschool playground to greet their new friends and get acclimated with STJ before school begins. Our little Trojans can’t wait to be part of the Saint James School family!



Welcoming our New Trojans

In the days and weeks leading up to the first day of school, current families have been hosting welcome parties to greet our new students and their parents. Starting a new school can be nerve-racking, but at STJ we ease those fears and welcome our new Trojans with open arms! Each class had a party to welcome them to Saint James. Students played, enjoyed sweet treats, and met new friends. It’s a great day at STJ!

5th grade welcome party

5th grade welcome party

STJ students and siblings playing at the 5th grade welcome party at Tipping Point

STJ students and siblings playing at the 5th grade welcome party at Tipping Point

Pre-K4 welcome party

Pre-K4 welcome party

3rd grade welcome party

3rd grade welcome party

6th grade welcome party  #WeAreSaintJamesSchool

6th grade welcome party


The countdown is on!

We are only 10 days away from the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Our maintenance staff has been hard at work preparing campus for the first day of school. All summer, we’ve been painting, waxing floors, making repairs, cleaning carpets, and replacing lightbulbs so our buildings will be in tip top shape.


Of course, we can’t wait for the big reveal of the STJ Commons, our new dining facility. The crew is finishing the last-minute details this week. It’s a great day at STJ!



Welcome! 환영 bienvenida! أهلا بك wamukelekile! 欢迎

This week, STJ Student Ambassadors, along with the MBA Conversational English School and volunteers, welcomed international school-aged children and their families to Montgomery. Camp America, held annually at First Baptist Church of Montgomery, is a day-long event with fun, games, and the “how-tos” of what to expect when they begin school in Montgomery.

The Conversational English Ministry teaches English to international adults. The program provides hospitality, preschool childcare & transportation. Conversational English is a ministry made available to The Air War College at Maxwell AFB and any international students in the River Region who wish to practice and improve their English.


Our STJ Student Ambassadors assisted with English language exercises and visited with children experiencing America for the first time. We are so excited to have so many new families in our community.



We're Back!

After a brief hiatus for maternity leave, Ms. Bartlett has returned and the admissions blog is back! Check in with us to see the exciting things going on at STJ this summer! We can’t believe school starts in one month. Campus has been bustling, but there’s nothing like the first day of school. We can’t wait to see our Trojans!

Elizabeth Hill, born February 2019.

Elizabeth Hill, born February 2019.

Future Trojan! Class of 2037!

Future Trojan! Class of 2037!

Roy G. Biv

This week, second graders worked with prisms to learn how white light is refracted to produce a rainbow.  On a bright day, students were able to “make” their own rainbows using rectangular prisms in our outdoor science lab.

When light passes through a prism, the light bends. As a result, the different colors that make up white light become separated. This happens because each color has a particular wavelength and each wavelength bends at a different angle. The colors that appear are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (the colors of the rainbow- “Roy G. Biv”)!



Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Greg Jackson


I teach : High school and Middle school instrumental music

I've Taught for: 10 years at Alabama State University, 23 years privately, and currently in my 2nd year at Saint James School

Hometown: Clarksville, TN (born in Des Moines, IA)

High school: Northeast High School, Clarksville, TN

College/Degree: Austin Peay State University/BS Music Composition & Performance, The University of Alabama/MM Music Composition/Theory, The University of Alabama/DMA Performance
STJ Extracurricular: Band

Favorite Book: The Art of War

Favorite Movie: The Godfather

Favorite Food: Meat!

Married to: Autumn Jackson (Señora Jackson, STJ Spanish Teacher)

Church: Frazer, and many others I perform at when called

Fun Fact: I was invited to compete for the first ever Team USA F3N (radio controlled freestyle aerobic helicopters) in World Championship in Poland.



Happy National School Counseling Week!

Happy National School Counseling Week! Saint James School is privileged to have an incredible counseling staff across all levels, Pre-K3 through 12th grade. Our fantastic counselors are an integral part of our school culture and community.

Ms. Clare Simon has been a counselor for 35 years and at Saint James School for 25.  She has a masters in counseling and is a certified LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor.  
Ms. Cherie Meadows, middle school counselor, is current serving in her fourth year. She became a school counselor through training as a clergy person.  Ms. Meadows holds a masters degree is in Religious Education and is ordained minister.

Ms. June Garzon and Mrs. Jamie Payne make up our high school counseling team. Students have the privilege of getting to know his or her counselor all four years of high school. Ms. Garzon and Mrs. Payne learn the talents and individual strengths of their students and assist them with everything from building class schedules, coordinating college tours, and scholarship applications. Ms. Garzon has been high school counselor for four years and hold a masters in Educational Administration with a focus on Private School Education from Teachers College of Columbia University, New York, NY. Ms. Payne is in her second year as high school counselor at STJ and holds both MBA and M.Ed in School Counseling. She is also a Nationally Certified Counselor.

Many of our administrators have also served in counseling roles at Saint James. Our current middle school principal, Ms. Laura Spivey, served as a counselor for fourteen years (eight in middle school and four in high school). She brings her years as counselor into her everyday role as principal. The unique experiences in the counseling office translate in many ways and provide Ms. Spivey with a special perspective as she serves the middle school. Mrs. Susan Atkins, Academic Dean, also served as counselor for the high school for many years. Likewise, our own Ms. Cathy Pearson, Dean of Admission, served as middle school counselor for 20 years and has a masters degree in counseling and human development.

Each of our counselors is dedicated to student success; strengthening our students’ physical, emotional, and mental health is paramount to Saint James School’s mission.

June Garzon and Jamie Payne, High School Counselors

June Garzon and Jamie Payne, High School Counselors

Clare Simon, Elementary School Counselor

Clare Simon, Elementary School Counselor

My absolute favorite part of my job is the students!  Having the privilege of watching them grow and develop is an honor and I love getting to know their families.  Morning carpool always starts my day off right.  Another aspect of my job that is a delight is seeing the students learn to problem-solve and create their own solutions to conflicts.  I love to see them take our guidance lessons and put them to work.
— Clare Simon, Elementary Counselor
Cherie Meadows, Middle School Counselor

Cherie Meadows, Middle School Counselor

My favorite thing about being a counselor at STJ is working with parents and students to help each student achieve the most optimal academic achievements, social integration, and emotional health.
— June Garzon, High School Counselor


pH lab... anything but basic!

Last week, Mrs. Whigham’s Advanced 8th grade physical science class learned all about acids, bases, and pH levels. Students made hypotheses about what household items would be the most acidic and basic. Items like lemon juice, vinegar, hand sanitizer, bottled water, baking soda, and milk were tested and recorded in lab journals.

At STJ, it is important that students make connections between their lessons and labs in the classroom with real-world applications.  The very same concepts that they used in lab today are being used world-wide to save lives and the planet.  Currently, environmental engineers are researching water remediation or water treatment projects; understanding the chemical properties (including pH) of contaminants is important for safeguarding the health of environmental water sources and systems.

I like labs because they are entertaining. We learn more in-depth. We get to use cool tools like hot plates, electric balances, and spectroscope tubes.
— Grady Johnson, 8th grade


Students also studied the environmental correlation with pH levels. “The pH of different liquids and solutions, particularly the pH of bodies of water, are important in describing the behavior of different minerals and chemicals. For example, with increasing acidic pH values, water begins to cause harm and destruction of ecosystems and minerals, such as dissolving the calcium carbonate shells of mollusks, or making ecosystems unlivable for plants and animals,” said Mrs. Whigham. Relating lab experiments to everyday life and the world around us makes the classes more fun. The tools and equipment are especially fun.

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Faculty Spotlight: Mrs. Patti Pelham


I teach: Elementary Visual Art, grades K3-5

I've Taught for: 14years

Hometown: Montgomery, AL

High school: Saint James School. Go Trojans!

College/Degree: Auburn University, BFA. AUM, M. Ed.

Favorite Movie: The Black Stallion

Favorite Food: Home grown veggies

Married to: Nicholas Pelham

Children: Bonner age 6, Clurin age 4

Church: Pleasant Valley UMC in Jones, AL

Fun Fact: I have always had a passion for Horses, we currently have 3. Finch, Pete, and Dusty. I hope to one day spend a summer Trail riding across the Rocky Mountains.


Sunlight and Shadows


This week, 3rd grade studied the movement of our planet. The students spent time investigating how the Earth rotates. Students learned that the Earth rotates on its axis and although it may look like the sun is moving across our sky, this is actually an illusion created by the Earth’s rotation.

On a sunny day, students ventured outside three different times to trace their shadows and see how they move and change. They measured the movements and recorded their findings to compare how much the shadows rotated during the day. Hands-on activities like this allow students to not only grasp science concepts, but apply them to everyday life.


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Muñeco De Nieve


Ms. Browning’s PreK3 class had a blast with Señora Jackson’s Spanish lesson this week. Students learned how to say “snowman” in Spanish along with body parts and some of his articles of clothing.  The children sang songs to reinforce vocabulary and practiced saying the words as they decorated their very own "Muñeco De Nieve.” The boys and girls really enjoyed eating his "cuerpo” aka “body!"

All elementary students, PreK3-5th grade, visit Spanish enrichment once a week as part of their weekly enrichment rotations. Global languages like Spanish are incorporated into our school-wide curriculum throughout all grades.



Faculty Spotlight: Mr. Benji Martin


I teach: Library- Elementary school

I've Taught for: 8 years

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, AL

High school: Open Door Christian School

College/Degree: B.A. in English, University of Alabama, 2006. MLIS in Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama, 2010

STJ Extracurricular: I teach ukulele lessons to elementary and middle school students after school!


Favorite Book: Charlotte's Web

Favorite Food: Mexican

Married to: Ashley Martin

Children: 1 boy: Harper, and 3 girls: Emrist, Mabel, & Theodora

Church: Church of the Highlands- Montgomery

Fun Fact: I am a kid lit blogger. You can find me here. Also, I recently finished up a two year term on the Association for Library Service to Children's Notable Children's Books Committee, which required tons of reading and was pretty time consuming, especially with a newborn in our life. It was a lot fun, though, and very rewarding.


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100 days of learning!

Today, we celebrate our 100th day of school! Our PreK3, PreK4, and Kindergarten classes have been participating in fun actives to commemorate the occasion. Students made self-portraits of their 100-year-old selves, counted to 100, decorated shirts with 100 objects, read stories about the number zero, and celebrated “Zero the Hero” on his big day. Our PreK4 classes dressed up as 100-year-olds! Our teachers even joined in on the fun.

We are thankful to be 100 days smarter!

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Faculty Spotlight: Mrs. Shelaine Taylor

I teach: Elementary science lab for grades PreK3 through 5th grade - I love seeing all the elementary students each week!

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I've Taught for: 15 years total (5 years at Saint James)

Hometown: Columbus, MS

High school: New Hope High School in Columbus, MS - Go Trojans! (our colors were black and gold though).

College/Degree: Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, MS - BS in Elementary Education (K-8), University of Great Falls in Great Falls, MT - Master of Arts in Teaching, Auburn University - Educational Specialist in Administration of Elementary and Secondary Education, Auburn University - Currently a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Administration of Supervision and Curriculum

STJ Extracurricular: I lead the 5th grade Junior Master Gardener's after-school program and also serve on the Performing Arts Guild board.

Favorite Book: My current favorite is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Favorite Movie: It's a Wonderful Life

Favorite Food: Mexican of any kind!

Married to: Todd Taylor for 23 years and counting

Children: Ella who is a tenth grader and Davis who is an eighth grader, both at Saint James.

Church: First Assembly of God

Fun Fact: I taught fifth grade at the International School of Islamabad in Pakistan when my husband was stationed at the US embassy there.



Shark Tank: The Gilded Age


Juniors in Ms. Hughes’s U.S. History class are currently studying the Gilded Age. They recently participated in “Gilded Age Shark Tank” based on the ABC hit program. Students were assigned to groups and given a Gilded Age invention which included Coca-Cola, the lightbulb and the phonograph. Students researched their invention while they prepared their presentations for the “sharks.” They had three minutes to try and convince the sharks, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, to invest in their product. The hardest part of the assignment was not using modern references. How do you describe a lightbulb? Students had to describe the actual bulb but then also describe how it was used and why it was better than candles or oil lamps. They realized how hard it was pitch a product and learned more about their individual inventions. Group projects like this allow students to use real-world application of what they learn in the classroom.


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