Incarnate Word Academy (IWA) of Corpus Christi is a private, Catholic college preparatory school educating all grade levels: Elementary Level-Montessori (Age 3-Grade 5), Elementary Level-Traditional (Age 3-Grade 5), Middle Level (Grades 6-8), and High School Level (Grades 9-12).
Motivated by a philosophy of Catholic education and by the charism of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, Incarnate Word Academy exists to create a climate for learning with God as the highest value. We strive to integrate faith with high academic standards across our campus.
Administrators, teachers, coaches, counselors, and staff members work together to form a Christian community which initiates students as growing members into the faith community. We create an atmosphere that allows students to be genuinely aware and curious, to do their personal best with every endeavor, to be humble and honest, to develop personal talents, and to think with an open mind: logically, accurately, and critically.
A great education is the foundation a life is built upon. It determines how far a child will reach and how far they can go. Incarnate Word Academy combines tradition, faith, and an eye to the future to provide opportunities for academic achievement, spiritual fulfillment, and personal accomplishment for each child that walks through our doors.
To Become an Image of Christ Within Our Community. To extend the legacy of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, as leaders, partners, and advocates for our students and the adults who serve them; and to provide a community where all may grow in Christian wholeness and bear witness to the presence and love of Christ among us.
To Reflect Jesus the Teacher. We form students in a loving and challenging Catholic environment where the individual gifts of every student are recognized, celebrated, and developed as a reflection of Christ.
Our Core Values
Faith: Belief in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, and His message of love for the world
Dignity: Respect for the worth of every person and for life in all its forms, with special concern for the poor
Compassion: Love, concern, and understanding in service of life-long learning
Integrity: Honesty, justice, and consistency in all relationships
Dedication: The pursuit of high standards of performance among teachers, students, and the school community
Gratitude: Acceptance, nurturing, and celebration of individual gifts and talents
Service: Recognition of God’s blessings and commitment to sharing them with others in school, family, Church, and community
Inspired by the charism of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, Incarnate Word Academy seeks to evangelize by proclaiming the good news revealed in the mystery of the Incarnation. As participants in the Church's mission of Catholic education, our ministry serves students from a wide range of ethnic, economic, social, and religious backgrounds. Our service is directed toward bringing about a Christian wholeness in each person and a Christian unity among all.
In pursuit of this goal, Incarnate Word Academy holds God as the highest value and affirms the sacredness and dignity of each human person. Acknowledging parents as the primary educators within the domestic church (the family), we work in collaboration with them to foster in their children the fullness of life to which they have been called. Because we recognize the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and creative gifts of each member of our community, we strive to nurture growth in students, parents, and faculty/staff. In this way we can best provide a holistic education to challenge, assist, and guide students in their personal development.
In response to the call of Vatican Council II, Incarnate Word Academy seeks to create a faith community in which the following are provided for its members:
- The message of Christ as presented in Catholic doctrine and expressed in sound moral principles.
- The opportunity to worship in liturgical celebration and to deepen personal prayer.
- The experience of community through mutual support and conflict management.
- The introduction into a life of service to facilitate discernment of vocation.
These concerns are directly addressed in the study of the Catholic religion and incorporated into the curriculum of all disciplines; they help focus student services and the school calendar.
Incarnate Word Academy seeks to integrate Catholic faith and Christian values in the pursuit of quality education. Aware of the many aspects of human growth and development, all members of the staff assist students in developing a life stance that includes the following:
- The quest for a deepening personal relationship with God.
- The maintenance of natural inquiry generating optimum cognitive learning.
- The appropriate expressions of emotional responses toward self and others.
- The participation in social relationships based on respect and trust, and expressed in honest communication and personal accountability.
- The acquisition of healthy physical practices.
Achievement of Christian Formation
While completing a course of studies is never an indication that a person is finished growing, IWA does seek to facilitate the development of an individual who is able to express commitment to God and his/her faith community through witness and service; who enjoys the skills to make informed and responsible decisions; who is ready to participate in and contribute to the good of the civic community; and who-above all-witnesses to and lives as a member of the Reign of God.
The good news of Incarnate Word Academy came about through the faith, courage, and dedication of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament (IWBS). Coming to Texas with a great love of God in their hearts, a commitment to the teaching mission of the Church, and a willingness to share in a new venture, the Sisters forged a path in the rugged land of South Texas. With their determination and vision they brought Jesus, the Incarnate Word, to the children of this area through their ministry of Catholic education.
Despite struggles and hardships, Incarnate Word Academy opened its doors in 1871. The first buildings were poor and inadequate; but the support of benefactors and friends made possible a new building, which served students from 1885-1926. A new building was completed in 1926 to fulfill requirements for a first-class, state-affiliated high school. It included grammar grade classrooms and boarding accommodations.
In 1955, the high school students moved from the building on Carancahua Street to a beautiful new building on the present site at 2910 South Alameda. A three-room kindergarten also opened. Ten years later, the Sisters opened Incarnate Word Elementary Academy Elementary Level with kindergarten through third grade, adding a class each year. In that same year, 1965, the Montessori program began, providing an innovative, individualized, child-oriented education for children from the ages of two and a half through five years. The Montessori program was expanded in the early 1990’s at the request of parents to include students through grade five. Today Incarnate Word Academy offers two tracks of elementary education, traditional and Montessori, for children through the fifth grade.
In 1970, at the request of the area Catholic School Board, the Sisters funded the construction of Incarnate Word Academy Junior High to provide Catholic education for seventh and eighth grade students in the city. In 1975, Incarnate Word Academy High School was opened to boys; this expansion required adjustments to curriculum and facilities.
Sister Martha Ann Snapka, IWBS, was named as the first Incarnate Word Academy president in 1988.
In 1989, the conversion of the junior high into an innovative Middle School for grades six, seven, and eight, provided a developmental environment to meet the needs of the "child in the middle."
In recent decades, significant changes have advanced the school's mission. Governing bodies were created with the establishment of the Office of the President in 1988 and the initiation of the Incarnate Word Academy School Board of Directors in 1994. The Board serves as a policy-making body to enhance Incarnate Word Academy’s viability, visibility, and solvency. Our school board has twice been awarded the prestigious National Outstanding Board commendation, in 2000 and in 2008, by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). Aware of the changing roles of the founding congregation, parents, and other members of the Incarnate Word Academy community, the Board commissioned the first strategic plan that was adopted in 1996. This plan focused on six key areas with specific detail for implementation: the greater community, relationships, resources, communication, decision making and policy, and accountability and evaluation. The effectiveness of this plan was largely due to the commitment to implement the goals set and to provide for continued evaluation of the performance of the plan. The 1996 Strategic Plan set the precedent for subsequent strategic plans that followed every three to four years thereafter, thus making the strategic plans living documents.
Blending respect for the original strategic plan with great vision for the future, a new plan was adopted in 2000. This second plan added new goals to address challenges and opportunities for implementation; these included mission effectiveness, curriculum, development, marketing, personnel, and plant and facilities.
The generosity and support by the Incarnate Word Academy community and the South Texas community at large is an integral component of the school’s heritage and has continually helped to further the mission of the school, making quality Catholic education available to more students in the area. In 2002, a comprehensive planned giving program was established in response to the interests for financial planning by alumni, parents, and friends. To promote the Incarnate Word Academy Foundation, Living Stones Building the Mission, a major gift recognition society, was created in 2003, recognizing the support of the school's mission by loyal and generous donors.
To offer students the opportunity to experience missionary service, the Mission Effectiveness Committee of the Incarnate Word Academy School Board, initiated the Missions Program in 2003. High school students were given the opportunity to spread the Gospel message and to strengthen their faith. From 2003 to 2008, the team traveled to villages and towns in Mexico. In 2009, students served the communities of Galveston, which were devastated by Hurricane Ike and the following year the team traveled to New Mexico to serve on a Native American reservation. Today, the team travels to various communities in need of evangelization and a helping hand.
Continuing its proactive tradition of effective planning, the Incarnate Word Academy administration and Board engaged in a strategic planning process during the 2003-2004 school year. The 2004 plan addressed the areas of enrollment, marketing and student recruitment, educational programs, staffing, development, facilities, finances, and governance.
Curriculum enhancement and renovation and reallocation of facilities in response to the needs of students have always been a part of the Incarnate Word Academy story. This was punctuated in the years 2005 through 2007, when all three levels experienced increased enrollment numbers. This increase resulted in a resourceful shift in the use of campus space. To meet the increase, facilities were renovated and reallocated while curriculum programs were advanced.
In 2007, the fourth strategic plan was adopted by the Incarnate Word Academy School Board. Based on the needs of the school and projected trends in population and school enrollments, the Board identified three major priorities. These included construction of Middle Level facilities, the needs of the Montessori program, and the expansion of athletic fields.
As a means of communicating more effectively with students and parents, a web-based student information management system, ParentsWeb, was initiated in the 2006-2007 school year. In keeping with the Incarnate Word Academy mission and to enhance the spiritual development of students at all levels, a campus ministry program was established in 2007. During that same school year, the “The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” for the Elementary Level received national recognition.
On March 25, 2009, the Kenedy Center for Math and Science building was dedicated. The facility served to accommodate increased enrollment and the growing focus in academic programs for math and science.
In 2010, a generous grant from an anonymous benefactor funded the Angel eBrary program, which catapulted the technological resources available to faculty and students. The Angel eBrary benefits all levels as a college preparatory tool. Students use the databases for research, assignment management, and testing.
After serving nine years as the second Incarnate Word Academy President, Sr. Anna Marie Espinosa, IWBS, ended her term in 2010. She passed the torch of leadership to Charles D. Imbergamo, the school’s first lay president.
Construction on the renovation of the Austin Street Athletic Complex began in 2012 as part of the school's Enlighten, Inspire, and Strengthen campaign. On February 1, 2013, the campus held a blessing and dedication ceremony for the complex. Students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends were in attendance. Honored guests included Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey, Congressman Blake Farenthold, and Ret. Lt. Gen. Marc Cisneros, CEO of the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation.The Austin Street Athletic Complex provides student-athletes a state-of-the-art facility which includes an all-weather track, batting and golf cages, storage facility for equipment, turf soccer field, zones for track and field events, and new fencing.
In 2015, Incarnate Word Academy announced Sammie H. Grunwald as its fourth president and CEO in the school's 150-year history.
In May of 2017, Phase II of the Enlighten, Inspire, and Strengthen Campaign began with a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the construction of a new 14,000 square-foot Montessori building. More than 125 guests gathered in support of the Montessori program's extension, which will provide seven new classrooms, a Prayer Garden, an Atrium for the Catechesis of the Good Shepard Program, and much more for students. A shining beacon of hard work, dedication, and vision, the building is designed to fully orchestrate and enhance the Elementary Level's beloved Montessori curriculum.
Since 1871, Incarnate Word Academy has served the teaching mission of the Church. The first four Sisters journeyed from France to settle in the region with little more than the great love of Christ in their hearts and a burning desire to teach children. The school continues to make its difference upon the lives of hundreds of children today. With courage, imagination, and hard work — always guided by the power of God’s providence — Incarnate Word Academy has made a lasting difference in partnership with the Corpus Christi community.