St. Mary-Basha Catholic School History
St. Mary-Basha Catholic School has a rich history of providing excellent Catholic formation to students in the Chandler and surrounding communities. The school opened in 1944 on Williams Field Road in south Chandler. Father Joseph Patterson became pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Chandler in 1938. He and Joe Martinez, a parishioner, built the first four classrooms next to the church on the Williams Field Road site. In 1944 the school opened with Sister Mary Felix Clarey as the first principal. Four additional Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill staffed the school in the beginning and served 123 students. In the late 1940’s, classrooms were added that brought St. Mary’s up to eighth grade.
In 1963, Mr. Ed Basha recognized the need for extensive repairs on the school building. He built a new school on property he obtained on West Galveston Street. The new school opened in 1964, with the name Basha added to the title. The school was dedicated in a special ceremony by the Bishop in front of the new classrooms. Then, Mr. Adolph Weinberg financed the construction of a convent on the grounds adjacent to the school. The Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill maintained a strong presence in the school throughout the years.
In 1984, Sister Mary Norbert Long left her position as Superintendent of Tucson Catholic Schools to become principal at St. Mary-Basha. During her tenure, the school enrollment doubled in size. She also facilitated the expansion of the campus, including construction of several classrooms, a computer lab, library, science lab, a music classroom, and an art room. Sister Mary Norbert worked tirelessly and without pay, to ensure that St. Mary-Basha Catholic School was a loving community of prayer and learning. She instilled high expectations in her teachers and students which elevated our reputation as a school with rigorous academics and strong Catholic identity. Catholic high schools came to expect that St. Mary-Basha graduates would be successful students and leaders among their peers.
In recent years, more improvements have taken place on campus. First, the Ramada was enclosed and is now a cafeteria. In 2018, Shea Homes completed a multi-million dollar renovation. St. Mary-Basha Catholic School continues to flourish as a center of spiritual and academic learning in our community. We are still a beacon to young families who want the best well-rounded education for their children. Critical thinking skills are emphasized through our rigorous academic curriculum. Students are exposed to state of the art technology and can participate in various co-curricular activities. We proudly serve over 400 students in grades preschool through eighth. We are accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association with highest commendation.