Last month, PB Monthly’s cover story was a Back-to-School interview with the community’s six public school principals. Congratulating ourselves for pulling it off during their busiest time of the year, our celebration was short-lived when the phones started ringing to say we forgot one!
Acknowledging that St. Paul’s Lutheran School was not a public school, the callers nonetheless argued for coverage as the elementary school is marking its 70th year in town and could boast of many successful graduates. “Plus, we have students who are the children and grandchildren of the very first students,” one caller argued. “We are a important part of the PB community.”
We caught up with Principal Meredith Binnie, who was more than delighted to provide the lowdown on St. Paul’s Lutheran School.
How long have you been principal?
This is my third year, I started in 2015 ... and I’m a resident of PB. My two children attend school here.
What communities do your students come from?
Mostly, PB, but also La Jolla, Point Loma, Clairemont, and a few are from East County, as their parents work on this side of town.
How large is your staff and what is the tuition?
We have 25 teachers, from preschool to eighth-grade. Kindergarten tuition is $5,950; Grades 1-5, $6,950; Grades 6-8, $7,550. We also have discounts for military, siblings, referrals and financial aid.
What motivates parents to enroll their children at St. Paul’s?
We have three guiding principles: Faith, Foundation, Family. Obviously, the Faith aspect is key to the education we provide, and then there are our small classes (our largest has 21 students), and our individualized, safe programs. Our students can thrive and be who they are. We don’t have bullies, peer pressure, cliques ...
Our graduates have gone on to be the valedictorians in their high schools, and have been accepted to UCLA, Baylor, Stanford and Texas Christian University, to name a few.
What are the goals for St. Paul’s School?
To grow our enrollment and to integrate more technology so we can be on the cutting-edge of academic practices.
Are there any changes ahead families should know about?
I wouldn’t say there are any big changes, but we just did celebrate our 70th school year in Pacific Beach! This is our biggest class of preschool and kindergartners, so we are excited to welcome so many new families to St. Paul’s. Our academic programs continue to excel and our music programs and athletics continue to flourish. What makes St. Paul’s special is that it is like a family — we have quite a few students this year whose parents also attended St. Paul’s!
What do you like best about being a school principal?
I love seeing growth in students: Academic, social, and especially, spiritual. Being a principal is also fun because I get to see all of the classes, not just one, and I get to learn every student’s name. I loved being a student when I was growing up and I want all of our students to have that love of learning as well.
What’s usually in YOUR school lunch box?
My lunch box typically has anything leftover from dinner the night before. And always fruit!
Your students might be surprised to know your favorite color is:
St. Paul’s Lutheran School
1376 Felspar St.
Grades: Preschool-8th grade
Enrollment: 162 students
School colors: Navy blue/white