Mission and History

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Preparing Children for Academic Success and Lives of Purpose


Animated by the values of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, the mission of Jackson Walnut Park is to inspire children to love learning, love God, and love one another. An inclusive Catholic school community committed to the flourishing of the whole child, we pursue academic excellence, promote service to others, and foster peace.

Core Values

Intellectual Growth
Love and Service of Neighbor
Peaceful Resolution of Conflict
Care for All God’s Creation


 Learn about the historical significance of the physical location of the Jackson Walnut Park School and how the Sisters of St. Joseph founded the programs we know today as Walnut Park Montessori and Jackson Elementary.

Explore the expandable content below:

  • Native Lands

    As the City of Newton acknowledges and recognizes, our living and learning takes place on land of this country’s native people, particularly the Massachusetts tribe, who lived, worked and played here for over 12,000 years.

  • The Jackson Homestead

    The Jackson Homestead


    In 1809, Timothy Jackson (1756–1814) built the Jackson Homestead which sits adjacent to the Jackson Walnut Park School campus. His son William Jackson (1783–1855) lived in the home from 1820 until his death. William was an abolitionist and served in the United States Congress from 1833 to 1837. The homestead was occupied by the Jackson family until 1932. In 1949, it was given to the City of Newton and in 1950 the Newton History Museum was established.

    Today, the Jackson Homestead is a museum known as the Jackson Homestead and Museum, operated by Historic Newton. It displays rotating and permanent exhibits about the history of Newton, Massachusetts, and the Underground Railroad. It is also home to the archives of Historic Newton. [Source]

    The Jackson Homestead was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 4, 1973. [Source]


  • The Potter Estate

    The Potter Estate

    In 1867 John C. Potter, Jr., a shoe and leather businessman, constructed the large Second Empire Victorian mansion house located on the Jackson Walnut Park campus. This home has been referenced as the Potter Estate. [Source] The property included a caretaker’s cottage and barn, which are still present today, as well as a carriage house which is the current location of Walnut Park Montessori.

    Walnut Park Montessori

    The Potter Estate was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.  The property is also sometimes referenced as the Joseph Flanagan Estate, for Joseph Flanagan who resided there between 1893 and 1921.

  • Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston

    Sisters of St. Joseph Boston

    In 1921, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston acquired the Potter/Flanagan Estate. In 1922, the Sisters opened Walnut Park Country Day School of Boys, an educational endeavor that started in the spacious Victorian mansion before moving to the estate’s renovated carriage house. The school for boys was closed in 1961 to make room for Aquinas Junior College.

    In 1963 the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph built a school on the Jackson Road side of the property to house the St. Joseph Educational Clinic that had outgrown its Medford, MA site, with additional rooms for Aquinas Junior College and the Boston School for the Deaf. This building is the current location of Jackson Elementary.

    Jackson Elementary

    In 1966, Sister Josephina Concannon, then director of the Montessori School at Boston College, opened a Montessori school for children ages 3-5, establishing it first in the St. Joseph Educational Clinic building on campus.

    Alert to changes in the educational field, particularly where public schools were instituting remedial classes for students, the Sisters opened an ungraded Catholic elementary school where students would find joy in learning and acquire mastery of skill sets that would make them life-long learners. In 1967, thirteen first graders became the foundation of a strong and viable Jackson School. Under the leadership of the School’s first principal, Sister Francis Marilyn DeCoste, the school grew, accepting one new class of students each year. As Jackson School enrollment increased, the Boston School for the Deaf moved out of the building, Aquinas Junior College constructed its own building, currently owned by the City of Newton, the Sisters of St. Joseph led Montessori school moved into the Walnut Park carriage house, and in 1974, the St. Joseph Educational Clinic was closed.

  • Jackson Walnut Park School

    Jackson Walnut Park School

    Today, Jackson Walnut Park School (JWP), led by Head of School Stephen Duffy and the School’s Board of Trustees, continues to be a proud sponsored ministry of the Sister’s of St. Joseph of Boston.

    JWP proudly offers Walnut Park Montessori — for early learners age 18-months through six years old — led by Director, Bridget Barrett-Parker, and Jackson Elementary — for kindergarten through sixth grade students — led by Steve Duffy.


The Sisters of St. Joseph formed in France in the 1600s. The Sisters are a community whose mission is to realize the prayer of Christ: that all may be one with God and with one another. The Sisters are united in a special focus: to work for unity where there is brokenness and to help people become whole and holy, individually and together.

In 2023, the Sisters of St. Joseph celebrate 150 years in Boston, 1873-2023.
Learn more about their full history here. Volunteer here.

Kindness, Compassion, Respect, Courtesy

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