Our History

From an old Monmouth County horse farm to a national award-winning institution of learning, over 60 years in the making. Take a walk through the Academy’s history below and click on each photo to enlarge the historic image!

With the approval of Bishop George W. Ahr, CBA’s three laymen founders – George Sheehan, Peter Fleming and John Henderson – reached an agreement with The Brothers of the Christian Schools, under the leadership of Provincial Brother Anthony John Halpin, to staff the school and finance its construction.


The former Whitney Greentree Stables, a 157-acre farm in Lincroft, was purchased and one building was converted into what is now Henderson Hall, which held the first CBA classes. Several other existing buildings, including the Round Barn, Sprint Barn and Benilde Hall, were also used for various campus activities.


On September 14, 1959, the Academy opened its doors to 144 freshmen boys from the greater Monmouth County area. The school was staffed by six Brothers, led by Principal Brother Bernard McKenna.


The first iteration of the main school building was opened in 1961 to accommodate the three grade levels then enrolled at the Academy. The new building featured one wing of classrooms, library, cafeteria and the Varsity Gym.


CBA won its first of over 150 state championships when head coach Vinnie Cox and the Colts captured the 1965 Parochial A basketball title. This championship laid the foundation for a dominant athletic department that now features 18 varsity sports and has been named “top non-public” program on numerous occasions.


The enrollment reaches 800 students by the start of the 1970s. CBA’s second principal, Brother Stephen McCabe (1965-72), emphasizes the importance of a strong academic curriculum, leading CBA to be nationally accredited by the Middle States Association.


Brother Peter Mannion served as the third principal in CBA history from 1972 through 1979. He stayed involved with the Academy in the development office after his tenure as principal.


In the very first year in which private schools were introduced to the program, the Academy earned the National Blue Ribbon of Excellence distinction from the U.S. Department of Education. The rigorous application and selection process was led by Associate Principal Peter Santanello, who also championed the introduction of technology to CBA in the 80s.


Led by Principal Brother Andrew O’Gara, CBA completed its first major upgrade since the original school building was constructed. Dubbed “Project 80s,” the $2.5 million campaign added two wings of classrooms, the chapel and Henderson Theater.


As enrollment exceeds 900 students at the start of the decade, Brother Ralph Montedoro, longtime teacher and administrator, took the helm as fifth CBA principal. Brother Andrew transitioned to become the Academy’s first school president, overseeing all operations at CBA and focusing on fundraising, alumni outreach and facilities.


CBA’s second major building addition is completed, as the $5.9 million Project 2000s upgraded the Academy’s campus facilities to better serve the student population. A new classroom wing, three state-of-the-art science labs, the McKay intramural gym with wrestling and weight training areas, two music rooms, the Academy Store, and Alumni Hall are integrated with the existing building.


It was a year of transition for the CBA community, as Brother James Butler was named principal in the spring, succeeding Brother Stephen Olert. The Academy also mourned the loss of Brother Andrew O’Gara in November, who served CBA for 29 years as principal and president.


The Academy celebrated the 50th anniversary of the school’s opening. Brother Frank Byrne ’75 is appointed as school president, and kicks off one of Brother Andrew’s final goals: a $10 million capital campaign called Project 50th.


In the fall, the new addition to the school building is opened and dedicated, with a visit from Bishop John Smith. Project 50th ultimately added the Quinn Library & Media Center, a new main office, guidance office suite, two upgraded computer labs, a life sciences lab and multiple classrooms. Later, a new fitness center and locker room would finish the project.


After serving as associate principal for the better part of three decades, Mr. Peter Santanello became the first lay principal of the Academy. Santanello joined the faculty in 1974 to teach mathematics, then served as associate principal for four different principals. During his time as an administrator, he was integral in CBA’s regular comprehensive self-studies and consistent high scoring on Middle States accreditation evaluations.


Led by Principal Ross Fales and Associate Principal Sean Nunan ’87, CBA was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for the second time in school history. The Academy was just one of six private high schools to earn the honor as an Exemplary High Performing School.


CBA’s 60th school year opens with a tradition that has continued since 1959: the Freshman Run. Every new class has participated in the Run – a camaraderie event for the youngest Colts – since the Academy first open its doors. The Run now bears the name of longtime cross country coach Tom Heath ’65.