St. James Academy of Malabon City broke ground from the vestiges of Malabon Normal School, the first Archdiocesan Catholic teacher training institution, conceived by then Manila Archbishop Michael J.O’ Doherty in 1925 and formally opened in June 1926, with the Maryknoll Sisters taking the reins of the administration.
The first Grade School graduation took place in 1931 with 20 graduates while the High School had it in 1933. In April 1936, the normal school and the pre-school department were moved to Isaac Peral St., Manila, now the United Nations Avenue, while the grade school and high school departments remained in Malabon. The school in Malabon was renamed St. James Academy, after St. James the Greater, patron saint of Bishop James Anthony Walsh, M.M., the co-founder of the Maryknoll Congregation with the Maryknoll Sisters still supervising the institution.
When World War II broke out in 1941, the school was closed down but classes continued at the private residence of the Punzalan family and managed by lay teachers while the Maryknoll Sisters were interned by the Japanese in Los Baños, Laguna and at the University of Santo Tomas.
The school reopened in 1945 when the war ended. The first high school graduation after the war took place on March 26, 1946 with 20 graduates.
In 1960, St. James Academy, being an Archdiocesan school, became an automatic member of the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association after the Archdiocese of Manila promulgated a decree creating MAPSA.
In 1980, the Maryknoll Congregation, formerly the Foreign Mission Sisters of St. Dominic, veered its charism to full-time missionary work thus, bequeathing their 54 years of management of the school to another St. Dominic-inspired congregation as approved by His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, the Archbishop of Manila, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena.
On October 20, 2003, in view of the canonical establishment of the new Diocese of Kalookan, St. James Academy became a diocesan school under the aforementioned diocese and a member of Kalookan Diocese Schools Association (KADSA). However, SJA is still a part of Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association, Inc. (MAPSA), the latter being an umbrella organization of all diocesan schools in Metro Manila, Antipolo and Bulacan.
In 2010, with the ushering of the Year of St. James, the Greater as declared by the Pope Benedict XVI, St. James Academy was turned over to the administration of another Dominican congregation, the Dominican Sisters of the Trinity as approved by the Most Reverend Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr., D.D, Bishop of Kalookan.
Under their supervision, the school was granted a Level II-Re-Accreditation Status to the Basic Education Program by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU) on April 26, 2013.
Through the years, St. James Academy has tremendously changed Malabon’s landmark. Its physical contour and instructional facilities have met the benchmarks of an excellent learning institution.
Truly, it has put to light its Vision-Mission as “an instrument in the transformation of a truly quality Catholic education through a God-centered curriculum, technology-enhanced, service-oriented, and research-based programs that will uplift human dignity and impel the school community to devote selfless service to the local church.”