“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”   – Maya Angelou

Santa Lucia School is a living, breathing testament to the adage: “It takes a village.” We have deep gratitude for all the people who contribute every day to make our school so unique and vibrant.

We are deeply grateful to our founder, Jan Thompquist (left image), and her amazing vision, energy and passion for creating our beloved school. Thank you so very much for everything, Jan. Words cannot express our sincerest gratitude for your magic and love in helping us with our beautiful sons and daughters become the amazing people they are today.

We are grateful to Kate Montgomery (image right), who taught the Elementary grades for over 30 years. You always had a twinkle in your eye and a sparkle in your smile. Thank you Kate for your wisdom, love and passion for nature, language, birds and pencils. We love you!

There have been many teachers over the years who have help to make Santa Lucia what it is today, and we thank all of them from the bottom of our hearts.




History of Santa Lucia

In the winter of 1984-85, a group of northern San Luis Obispo County parents began talking about the need for an alternative to traditional elementary education. Meetings were held, goals were discussed, a grant proposal was written, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship became the sponsoring agency that administered grant money. Sue Cook and Jan Thompquist were the “co-founders.”

The school opened in September 1985 in a lovely pine paneled converted garage on Salinas Road in Atascadero. There were four students the first day. The playground consisted of a giant pile of sand under a mature valley oak next to a friendly duck pond. By the end of the year, Santa Lucia School had grown to seven students. Janine Kirkpatrick taught on Mondays, Jan Thompquist taught Tuesday-Thursday. Friday has always been Independent Study day.

The second year there were 15 students and the school had outgrown the current facility. Five acres on Plum Orchard Lane in Templeton were purchased for the school. The county use permit process took two and one-half years to complete. In the meantime, school was held at Dove Hill on Palomar Road in Atascadero. John Beccia taught the K-1st students; Jan Thompquist taught the 2nd-4th graders. Jaki Kalionzes became the Primary Teacher’s Aide in November 1987.

In September 1988 the staff was still waiting for the permits to be approved. Mark Welch became the elementary teacher and Angelica Jochim was his Aide. Jan Thompquist taught the 1st-3rd graders. During spring vacation in March 1989, the school moved to Plum Orchard Lane. The following September, Kate Montgomery began teaching the elementary program and continued teaching for the next 25 years! In September 1992, Michalle McCoy became the Elementary Aide.

In September 1994 the Middle School opened with ten students. Steve Burrell was the teacher. That summer the building was constructed by Cal Poly students as their senior project. The new classroom was dedicated to Becky and Michael Hoffman, who donated funds for its construction. Bill Burke taught the Middle School and its 13 students in 1995-96 and again the next year. A patio and bridge were completed near the Middle School by another group of Cal Poly seniors in June 1995. Nanette Young joined the staff as Elementary Aide in Sept. 1995.

Santa Lucia School reached full capacity, 48 students, in October 1996. Karen Parrish Darling taught the Middle School from September 1997 to June 2004. There have been several part-time aides: June Jones, Christine Goyvai, and Linda Bell Boyde. Joseph Kalionzes was Middle School Aide for 2000-01 and returned in 2004-05. Gale Ybarra became the Middle School Teacher in September 2004, after training for three years as the Middle School Aide. Jan retired after 31 years.