Our Staff

James Johnston

While I was born in California, I was raised primarily in the Midwest. I returned to the west coast via the University of Oregon, where I received a Bachelor’s in English. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and, at the time, it had a great Humanities and Education Department, so it made sense. It also allowed me to re-connect and help my grandparents. After ten years in Oregon, I came back to California and moved to the Central Valley. After a few more years of teaching in the public school sector, I decided to move over to Catholic Schools and took an English Instructor position at St. Mary’s High School (Stockton) teaching College Prep and Advanced Placement English to juniors. Over the next sixteen years, I was the English Department Chair, Summer School Administrator, coach, and worked with the Athletic Department as well as a wide range of other opportunities to partner with staff, students, and parents (as is the wont of Catholic Education). In 2015, I accepted the role of Principal at St. Mary School in Los Gatos and, after commuting for a year from Stockton, my wife and I moved over to San Jose.

The move to the Central Valley allowed me to not only connect with more family, but to re-connect with my (soon to be) wife, Jenny. We have been married for 19 years. She is a middle school teacher in Milpitas. We have “fur babies”, named Chase, Luke, and Lily, a host of turtles and tortoises, and a robo-hamster named MiMi. When we are not working or tending the “zoo”, we like to camp, hike, and scuba dive.

On an ending note, my belief is that Catholic Education is a vocation, a compelling opportunity to reach our kids in ways that simply are not possible in other academic arenas. Our schools are an opportunity to connect with students in a profound way and to enjoy those “teaching moments”. As our society has changed, it has offered us more challenges in the realm of academia and society, but our students need guidance now more than ever. They have the world literally at their fingertips; we can help them navigate it in a moral and reflective way by partnering with parents, our community, and each other. We are here to partner with parents, who are our students’ primary educators, to help and support our students as much as we possibly can.


Email: jjohnston@sjmv.org