The history of St. Michael the Archangel School has its roots in the parishes of St. Joseph Church, Coopersburg (formerly Limeport), and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Bethlehem (formerly Colesville).
A mission church, which today is the back of the Assumption Church building, was established under the ministry of the priests of neighboring Saint Ursula Church in Fountain Hill. In 1930, the Assumption Church was transferred into the charge of Saint Joseph Church and retained its mission status. In 1952, the parish of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was established by the Diocese of Philadelphia and Father Drobel served as the first Pastor. An addition to the church and the rectory was added. In 1952, Father James Hanlon became Pastor. The school and the convent were built. The school opened in 1968 under the direction of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. The first principal was Sister Loretta Carmel. The school began with four grades. An additional grade was added each year until there were eight. These buildings are currently the St. Michael the Archangel Middle School and Assumption Rectory.
The parish of St. Joseph was established under its first pastor, Father John Fries. An old barn was renovated and became the church building. In 1952 under Father Richard Holtzhauser, the first rectory was built. In 1961, the first school in the newly established Diocese of Allentown opened. Saint Joseph School began with Grades 1-4 and was staffed by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart under the direction of Sister Mary Carmel. By 1965, Grades 1-8 were in session.
The present St. Joseph rectory was built and in 1968 Father William Hoffner was appointed Pastor. In 1971, under his direction, the present church was built. He also oversaw an addition to the parish school.
The two schools merged. The new school was named St. Michael the Archangel School. The first Principal was Sister Louisiane. The Saint Joseph building became the Primary or “Limeport” school housing Grades 1-4 and the Assumption building became the Middle or “Colesville” school housing Grades 5-8. The Sisters of Saint Joseph withdrew from the school in 1984 when an all lay faculty, under the direction of Mr. Harry Reese, was established.
In 1985, a preschool program was added to the Middle School Building.
Monsignor Robert Coll was appointed Pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish upon the retirement of Father Hanlon.
With the transfer of Mr. Reese to another catholic school, Mrs. Susan Adams was selected as the new Principal.
A regional school board was established with representatives from each parish. Because the Principal travels between two buildings, a head teacher was appointed at each building. As the parish families grew, enrollment increased and, with it, the need for a larger facility. In 1991, Saint Joseph Parish Center was built adjoining the primary school building. This enabled the school to have access to three multi-purpose rooms, a kitchen, lunchroom, gym, and administrative offices.
Mrs. Carol Sonon was appointed Acting Principal and then became the permanent Principal upon the resignation of Mrs. Adams in 1993.
A foreign language program was added to the middle school curriculum. The use of computers was also integrated into the curriculum by the middle school teachers.
Father Thomas Buckley was appointed Pastor of Saint Joseph Parish upon the transfer of Father Hoffner. Because of the continued enrollment increase, an additional preschool was opened at the primary building. The fourth grade was doubled and double classes began in Grade 1 and continued throughout the years. The parish community of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary built the Hanlon Center adjoining the middle school building. This addition included a gym, art studio, conference room, kitchen, and locker room. In the same year, a classroom phone system and a front door security monitoring system were added in the primary school building. The parish community of St. Joseph also added a softball/baseball field as well as enhancing the recess area with a kickball court, basketball hoop, hopscotch game, and four-square grids.
Monsignor John Martin was appointed Pastor at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church upon the retirement of Monsignor Coll. Also in 1996, the dining hall in the middle school was renovated and a new preschool room was built.
The middle school was expanded, adding the front wing of the school. This includes the current library, computer lab, science lab, one classroom, and the religious education office. All other classrooms were also renovated, as was the main office.
The middle school computer lab was gifted with a donation of 25 new Dell computers complete with flat-screen monitors.
The current primary school library and Kindergarten classrooms were expanded. In September, a foreign language program was added to the Primary School curriculum program. In June 2009, after 17 years of service to our school community, Mrs. Carol Sonon retired. Mr. Stephen W. Mickulik was hired as the Principal in August 2009. Mr. Mickulik remained at St. Michael’s until June 2011.
In July Mrs. Lori Rutkiewicz joined the St. Michael’s professional staff as principal after many years as a parent, teacher, and School Board member at St. Michael the Archangel School.
During the summer both campuses received renovations to the hallways, main entrances, and administrative offices under the direction of Principal Rutkiewicz. The following summer saw the formation of the new Board of Limited Jurisdiction. The purpose of our Board is to promote and advance the mission of St. Michael the Archangel School for the education and instruction of students in assisting them to “reach the fullness of the Christian life.” Board members actively support and promote the school’s mission, vision and strategic goals. Mrs. Rutkiewicz ended her tenure at St. Michael the Archangel School in July, 2014. Mrs. Carol Sonon returned as interim-principal while a principal search committee began interviewing for the position.
In September we welcomed to the St. Michael the Archangel School Family Dr. Joanne J. LoFaso as principal and Mrs. Colleen Weiss as Assistant Principal. Mrs. Erin Doherty Faust became the Assistant Principal of St. Michael’s during the 2016 -2017 school year.
Mrs. Colleen Weiss returned as principal of St. Michael the Archangel School in July, 2017. She remained principal until August 2021, when Mrs. Marie E. Chirico joined the St. Michael the Archangel community as principal for one year until July, 2022.
Mr. Harry Reese, returned from retirement and was named the interim principal for the 2022-2023 school year and Mrs. Marianne Gano took on the role as Assistant Principal. Following his second retirement in July 2023, Mrs. Marianne Gano was named Principal for the 2023-2024 school year. Ms. Rose Harnett was named as Assistant Principal for the 2023-2024 school year.
Thank you to all of the clergy, administration, faculty, staff, families, friends and parishioners who have helped shape St. Michael the Archangel School into the exceptional institution it is today. We look forward to continuing to nurture students, challenge minds, and inspire faith-filled leaders for many more years to come!