Villanova Preparatory School

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Villanova Preparatory School
Villanova/ Nova
12096 North Ventura Avenue

Ojai, California, U.S.

, ,

United States
Coordinates34°25′47″N 119°15′50″W / 34.42972°N 119.26389°W / 34.42972; -119.26389Coordinates: 34°25′47″N 119°15′50″W / 34.42972°N 119.26389°W / 34.42972; -119.26389
TypePrivate, Coeducational, day/boarding school
MottoUnitas ∙ Veritas ∙ Caritas
(Unity ∙ Truth ∙ Love)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Order of Saint Augustine
OversightOrder of St. Augustine
HeadmasterNancy O'Sullivan[1]
Enrollment260 (2016-17)
Average class size15
Campus typeCountry
Color(s)Navy, White and Gray             
SongAlma Mater (When the Twilight Shadows Gather)
Fight songOh no. Here we Go. Nova.
Athletics conferenceFrontier League/ Tri Valley League (Both a part of the Tri-County Athletics Association [TCAA])
Sports19 total
Team nameWildcats
RivalNordhoff High School
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges[2]
Newspaper"Nova Notes", "Vista"
YearbookThe Villanovan
Tuition$20,000 (Day), $56,500 (Boarding)
Director of AcademicsBrian Grisin
Admissions DirectorTyler Hart
Athletic DirectorRicardo Olivares

Villanova Preparatory School is an Augustinian Catholic co-ed day and boarding school in the United States, located in the California town of Ojai. Sitting on more than 130 acres, Villanova's campus has many athletic facilities, two dormitories, sports fields and trails, a gym, and tennis courts. The school is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and is a member of the Augustinian Secondary Education Association.

Established in October 1924 at the request of Bishop John Cantwell (John Joseph Cantwell), Villanova was founded by Augustinians invited to California from Villanova, Pennsylvania to open parishes in the early 1920s. Villanova is a member of the Augustinian Secondary Education Association (ASEA) comprising eight secondary institutions in North America and over 100 schools worldwide. Villanova offers both a day and resident program and is the only co-ed Augustinian boarding school in the country. Villanova has a small chapel that holds mass every Sunday for both students and the public.

In 2015-16, student enrollment was 265.[3] Thirty-four percent of students are boarders, and represent 14 different countries.[3]


Villanova Preparatory School offers a college prep curriculum for grades 9–12. As of May 2015, Villanova is an International Baccalaureate World School, offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme for its junior and senior students.[4]

Operating on the semester system, students take seven courses each year with classes meeting a minimum of four times a week with extended 80 minute periods on most weeks.

The curriculum includes four units of religion: Old Testament, New Testament, Morality and Social Justice, and Christian Vocations.[citation needed] Math, English, Foreign Language, Religion and Science courses are required for all four years in order to graduate. Two languages are offered: Spanish and Latin. The school also offers Honors courses in other subjects such as Calculus, English Composition, English Literature, and US History.[3]

Other graduation requirements include the completion of courses in: Fine Art, P.E, Health, Electives and a yearly completion of community service.

Resident Life[edit]

Villanova houses approximately sixty-five boys and thirty girls.

A majority of the boarding students come from Taiwan and South Korea, with a smaller number of students coming from China, Vietnam, Mexico, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, United States and other countries.[citation needed] In contrast, the non-boarding day students at Villanova make up about 70% of the student body. Roughly 30% are from the Ojai Valley, while the rest of the students come from surrounding cities such as Carpinteria, Ventura, Camarillo, Santa Paula, Oxnard, Somis, and Fillmore.

Student life[edit]

Villanova Preparatory school offers its students over 20 clubs, Student Government (ASB), all school Mass, Christian service program, Class Retreats, and Drama Productions.

Annually, Villanova holds Wildcat Day, a daylong pep rally where students compete in track and field games.

Patron saint[edit]

The school is named in honour of St. Thomas of Villanova, a sixteenth-century Spanish Augustinian.[citation needed] Thomas was born at Fuenllana in the diocese of Toledo, Spain, in 1488 and was brought up in Villaneuva de los Infantes, a nearby town; hence his name, Thomas of Villanova. In the year 1544, King Charles V of Spain appointed Thomas as Archbishop of Valencia. Thomas succeeded in the spiritual renewal of his diocese, and gained the title 'Father of the Poor'. He gave two-thirds of the income of his diocese to care for the poor in various ways.[citation needed] Each day up to 500 poor people came to his door to be fed and to receive money. Other English-speaking Augustinian Colleges named for this saint are St. Thomas of Villanova College in Ontario, Canada, and Villanova College, located in Brisbane, Australia. He is also the patron saint to the Catholic college, Villanova University located in Villanova, PA,USA.

The Augustinian Order in North America[edit]

The North American foundation of the Order was formed in 1796 when Irish friars arrived in Philadelphia. Michael Hurley was the first American to join the Order the following year. Friars established schools, Universities and other works throughout the Americas, also including Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania located just outside Philadelphia (USA) and Merrimack College (USA). Malvern Preparatory School was founded in 1842 alongside Villanova University, and by 1909 two Augustinian houses and a school had been established in Chicago, 1922 in San Diego, by 1925 this school; and Los Angeles; 1926 a school in Oklahoma; in 1947 a college in Massachusetts; in 1953 a school in Pennsylvania; 1959 a school in New Jersey and in 1962 a school in Illinois.


Despite its size Villanova offers 19 sports, and has had remarkable success particularly in its aquatics department / water polo where Head Coach Tim Settem has turned the program into a dominant force. Girls water polo has won three straight league titles and has advanced to CIF Southern Section semi-finals twice between 2017-2019. The girls' Volleyball, Basketball and tennis teams have also brought league titles and CIF playoff runs. In football, Head Coach Ricardo Olivares has rebuilt things from the ground up within the 8-man system and created a powerhouse program leading to both league titles and deep CIF playoff runs. Olivares is also the school's athletic director.

Fall Sports include: football, boys' water polo, girls' volleyball and girls' tennis.

Winter Sports include: boys' basketball, girls' basketball, boys' soccer, girls' soccer and girls' water polo.

Spring Sports include: baseball, softball, swimming, track and field, boys' golf, and boys' tennis.


Villanova discontinued its football program in 1974, but it was brought back as an 8-man program in 2001 under Head Coach and Athletic Director, John Muller. The program was remarkably successful in 8-man between 2001 and 2003. In 2004, the program made the jump to 11-man football as an Independent (non-league) Division XIII team. The original 11-man coaching staff consisted of Head Coach John Muller, Line/Defense Coach Tyler Wiggins, Linebacker/Running Back/ Defensive coach Mike Lenehan, and Receiver/Defensive Back Coach John Howard. In only its second year, the team went undefeated during the 2005 season and made the CIF playoffs. In 2006 the team joined the Tri-County Athletic Association (TCAA) as a Division XI team, and was placed in the Frontier League where it often competed against schools three to four times its size. Although out-sized the Wildcats were always competitive and looking to expand the program when a school administrative change took take place. At that time support for many of the school's athletic programs were dramatically cut or eliminated. The football program was hit the worst, and By 2011 much of the original coaching staff as well as a handful of standout players had transferred to other schools. This resulted in many young, outstanding local Ojai athletes who'd originally committed to attend the school and play football (many with older brothers who'd played for the Wildcats) change their plans and go elsewhere - either to Saint Bonaventure High School in Ventura,CA or Nordhoff High School in Ojai, CA. The 11-man program never recovered, struggling as in the Frontier League through 2013. Villanova is currently back to an 8-man program, and since the takeover by Head Coach Olivares has been extremely successful.

Citrus Coast League Affiliation[edit]

As of 2018 Villanova has joined the newly formed Citrus Coast League.


  • In 1998 James Woodstock, a 31-year-old religion and morality teacher, was convicted of statutory rape after impregnating a 16-year-old student.[5]
  • In early 2006, it was discovered that the headmaster had hired a Latin teacher Shannon McCreery who had been convicted of second degree murder for assisting in his father's suicide in 1996. Though the headmaster was aware of the conviction, he did not disclose this information to the school's board of directors nor the rest of the staff.[6] Fallout from the incident included McCreery's dismissal and an attempt to oust the headmaster.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable staff members[edit]

  • Parry Shen, a Chinese American actor best known for his performance in the 2002 movie Better Luck Tomorrow, worked for several years at the school as a member of the dormitory staff and Drama teacher.


  1. ^ a b "Villanova Preparatory School Organizational Chart" (PDF). Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  2. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  3. ^ a b c VPS. "School Profile" (PDF). Villanova Prep website. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 9, 2008. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  4. ^ URL:
  5. ^ Statutory Rape conviction
  6. ^ Los Angeles Mission - Head hires murderer Archived April 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]