History & Mission
Reverend George A. Brown School became the first Catholic school in Sussex County since 1896 when it opened its doors on Sept. 20, 1954. Before the school officially opened, Reverend Brown was going to be a parish school operated under Our Lady of the Lake Church. But, the pastor at the time, Reverend George Brown, had passed away on July 1, 1954 at 55 years old.
With the sad departure of the visionary for the school, Bishop McNulty, the bishop of the Diocese of Paterson at the time, suggested the school be named after Reverend Brown instead of it being named after a parish like every other school in the Diocese. Not only did Reverend Brown’s name live on, but also the mission he helped plan for this school to succeed.
When the school opened, over 200 children, not only from Our Lady of the Lake, but also from the neighboring parishes of Franklin, Sussex, Ogdensburg, Newton, Branchville, and Milton were registered for their first year of Catholic education under the care and guidance of four Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict. The Benedictine charisma, spirit, and tradition continue to be a part of the school today.
This is due to the dedication of Monsignor Charles C. Cassidy, who was the pastor for Our Lady of the Lake for over 20 years, Monsignor McHugh, who has worked alongside the school while being the president and/or principal of Pope John for over 50 years, Rev. David McDonnell, the current pastor at Our Lady of the Lake, and Patricia Klebez, the current principal of the school.
Under their guidance, Reverend Brown has continued to thrive and be a center of Catholic education for students in grades pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. As a Catholic school community, we believe that through modeling kindness, forgiveness, and compassion, we can make a difference in God's world. We believe all children should feel safe, loved, and inspired throughout their academic and spiritual journey to be passionate learners and live Christ-centered lives.