Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Gerald C. Tiffin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gary L. Railsback, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Marc Shelton, Ed.D.


St. Joseph School/Sacred Heart Academy has a long and lively history. The school has played a significant role in the faith and educational formation of the people it has served for the past 145 years. The school has experienced changes in the name and ownership; population ups and downs; times of turmoil and times of great celebration. Throughout the years, the school continues to mirror the lives of the many people that it has touched. This history will examine the challenges that were faced and the responses and resolutions to those challenges. Included will be events that affected Sacred Heart Academy/St. Joseph School, the role that the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary played, the battle for the early survival of the school in the 1860s, encounters with the Ku Klux Klan and Governor Walter M. Pierce, the 1925 Compulsory Education Bill, the United States Supreme Court case Pierce v The Society of Sisters and the current status of the school today. Catholic education faced an enormous struggle in the early 1900s. Not only was there the struggle to adapt a new territory, but Governor Walter M. Pierce along with the Scottish Rite of Masons and the Ku Klux Klan encouraged Oregon citizens to help destroy Catholic and other non public schools in Oregon. Their goal was to have all students attend the public schools to ensure that all students were 100 percent American. The bill, ORS 339.210 stated that all students ages 8 - 16 would attend public schools. The bill passed in the Oregon Legislature, was overturned by a panel of three judges, appealed by the state and eventually was sent to the United States Supreme Court where it was declared unconstitutional. The school today is faced with decreasing enrollment and constant funding challenges. The dedicated stakeholders are committed to keep St. Joseph School a vital part of the history of Salem and the history of Catholic Education in Oregon.

Included in

Education Commons