History of Saint Frances Cabrini School

In 1952, St. Frances Cabrini Parish and School were commissioned by Thomas A. Connolly, the Archbishop of Seattle, and dedicated to the memory of the first American Saint, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini.

Under the leadership of Fr. Andrew J. Squier, the construction of the new church and school began immediately.  By late September of 1953, St. Frances Cabrini School opened her doors providing Catholic education to nearly 300 students, taught by six Holy Names Sisters who lived in the Cabrini Convent.

In the early 1960’s, eight more classrooms were added and by the end of that decade school enrollment reached its height of 720 students, under the guidance of 12 sisters. St. Frances Cabrini School was the 3rd largest school in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

During the 1970’s, most Catholic schools saw a significant decrease in enrollment and St. Frances Cabrini was no exception.  With fewer sisters available to teach, schools began hiring lay teachers and staff which brought new economic challenges for parents and school parishes.

In 1989, Stephanie Van Leuven was hired as the principal of St. Frances Cabrini School and remained in that position for 22 years.  During that time, the school library was renovated and new buildings were added for Pre-Kindergarten and Extended Care, as well as a Science and Computer Lab.

In 2017, St. Frances Cabrini School was awarded our third 6-year Accreditation through Western Catholic Education Association.  The school was praised by that organization for our dedicated Principal Ms. Monica Des Jarlais, faculty and staff, committed sense of community by students and parents, engaged, passionate School Commission and committees, and most importantly, high academic standards and student success.

St. Frances Cabrini School has made significant investments in technology, an accelerated Math program, and a variety of enrichment programs to develop the whole child.  All students in grades 1-8 are provided with their own Chromebook as part of a technologically integrated and individualized approach to learning.

Today, St. Frances Cabrini School is led by our principal, Mrs. Monica Davis.

The school proudly serves families from the Lakewood, Steilacoom, DuPont, Tacoma, University Place, Spanaway, and Joint Base Lewis McChord communities.