In 1946, the St. Margaret’s Guild of the Church of the Good Shepherd began Good Shepherd Day School. It operated as a preschool in what was then known as the Civic Center (now Munds Hall on the Church of the Good Shepherd campus). In the early years following the war, Good Shepherd Day School held classes for 3-5 year olds, and then quickly added a Kindergarten and a 1st Grade class. By 1948, the Church of the Good Shepherd had entered an active phase of planning and procurement of property for the construction of the beautiful Spanish colonial style Sanctuary and adjacent classrooms and buildings. This project would occupy the Church resources, both physical and financial, for at least another decade. During this construction phase,the Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten and a 1st grade class took up temporary residence at the Coleman House, at the corner of Third Street and Craig Street, due to the need for space and safety.
In 1954, an inter-parochial board of interested parishioners from four Episcopal congregations in Corpus Christi was formed, recommending to the Bishop that an Episcopal day school should be established in Corpus Christi under the name of St. James Episcopal School. In 1955, representatives of the Church of the Good Shepherd, All Saints Episcopal Church, Church of the Incarnation and St. Thomas Day, along with other interested Corpus Christi families, established St. James Episcopal School from the nucleus of the Good Shepherd Day School and the classes operating at the Coleman House. It’s new location would be at the newly formed mission, the Church of the Incarnation, at the corner of Carroll Lane and McCardle, established by the Church of the Good Shepherd in 1954. The school would educate Junior Kindergarten through 2nd Grade classes at this location until 1959.
By the end of 1959, St. James Episcopal School was already growing more rapidly than the Church of the Incarnation campus could accommodate, and the School returned to the beautiful new buildings at the Church of the Good Shepherd in September of 1960. During that decade of building and construction, the Church had added the Sanctuary, Munds Hall, Foster Hall and the land on which Brown Hall would later be built. These buildings all form the heart of the St. James campus today.
Between 1960 and 1967, St. James opened a new grade level each year, with the class of 1967 becoming St. James’ first Sixth Grade graduating class. The school continued to grow and prosper, establishing itself as a leader in education in the area. During the 1980’s, St. James improved its campus and programs by adding the McNeil gymnasium, an upper campus, a multi-purpose activity room, computer and media centers, and a school library. In the early 1990’s, Dobbins Hall was completed, and the St. James Middle School expanded to include Grades 7 and 8.
In 2000, the 20,000 square foot Middle School building, including science and computer labs, and a multi-purpose assembly hall, was dedicated to accommodate our expanding Middle School grades. An overhead skywalk, called “The Link”, unites the middle school campus with the lower school campus. St. James Episcopal School is now separately incorporated and operates under a governing Board of Trustees.
Our distinguished list of Headmasters is as follows:
- The Rev. Joseph Brown, Rector of Good Shepherd, assumed the position of Headmaster in 1959.
- The Rev. Rodman Kypke was hired as Asst. Rector and assumed the Headmaster’s position until 1965.
- The Rev. Harlan Irvin (’65-’68)
- The Rev. Tom Gardner (1968)
- Mr. Charles Gregg (’69-’75)
- Mrs. Amy Risling (1974)
- The Rev. Alan Conley (’75-’86)
- Mr. Marshall Abell (Interim ’86-’87)
- Mr. R. Jay Dewey (’87-’95)
- John H. Wright, Jr. (Interim ’95-’96)
- Mr. H. Palmer Bell (’96-’08)
- Mr. Patrick H.F. Roberts (’08-’11)
- The Rev. Dr. Louis “Smokey” Oats (Interim ’11-’12)
- Mr. Walter Spencer (’12-’13)
- Mrs. Galen Hoffstadt (2013-)