Mission & History

Mission Statement

In the Catholic tradition and in the spirit of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop Ireton High School is a college preparatory high school that promotes spiritual, intellectual, creative, social and physical development.

As a Salesian community of learning and service, Bishop Ireton High School prepares and inspires students to Advance Always with a Christ-centered focus to meet and surpass current and future global challenges.

Our School

    • Head of School with students in the hallway

    • Bishop, Father and students in prayer

Bishop Ireton High School, a Catholic preparatory high school located in historic Alexandria, Va., began its proud heritage of academic excellence in 1964. As a Salesian community of learning, Bishop Ireton is dedicated to the educational and spiritual formation of young men and women, challenging them to Advance Always in scholarship, service, and in the love of God and one another. The school resides in the Diocese of Arlington, receives accreditation from the Virginia Catholic Education Association, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Cognia, and competes in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) and the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association (VISAA).

Bishop Ireton accomplishes its mission by developing within each student the following:

  • Deepened faith in order to encourage a loving commitment to God and the Catholic Church
  • Spiritual and moral values
  • The desire for life-long learning
  • The pursuit of academic excellence in all disciplines
  • Appreciation of the fine and creative arts
  • Understanding of our multi-cultural heritage to appreciate and respect individual differences
  • Knowledge and application of technological innovations for the benefit of humanity
  • The pursuit of physical fitness and knowledge of mental and physical health as a life-long goal
Together with its community of families, Bishop Ireton provides students with the foundation and relationships for a lifetime of success, helping to ready the next generation to be exemplary and ethical leaders in an ever-changing world.

Salesian Heritage

When the Most Rev. Peter L. Ireton, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, decided to open a new all-male Catholic high school in Alexandria, he asked the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales to staff it. The Oblates agreed, and a rich, shared history was created. Oblate priests and brothers both worked and lived at Bishop Ireton, and their dedication to the school made a significant impact on the community. In 1974, Bishop Ireton became a part of the newly created Diocese of Arlington and 16 years later became co-educational when St. Mary's Academy closed its doors in 1990. In 2008, the sole remaining Oblate – Fr. Matthew Hillyard, OSFS – was transferred, and Bishop Ireton became an Oblate Affiliated School.
The first lay principal, Mr. Timothy Hamer, along with teachers and staff, formed the Salesian Discipleship Team. Comprised of administrators, teachers, alumni, parents, and students, the team forged a new relationship with the Oblates. They also wrote the Live Jesus Charter as a guide to maintaining the charism of the Oblates at Bishop Ireton.

Salesian Activities

  • Maintain an ongoing relationship with the Oblates – invite them to various events included Masses, reconciliation services, alumni events, and graduation
  • Award the Salesian Medal to faculty and students
  • Send students to DeSales Service Works in Camden, New Jersey for service retreats each year
  • Send students to Salesian Leadership Camp in Michigan and to Annecy, France during the summer
  • Support the Oblates through dress-out-days and the annual Golf Classic