This fall, John Paul II Catholic High School will experience more than a 25% increase in enrollment over last school year. “Students and parents in Pitt and surrounding counties are realizing that JPII is the best option for a college preparatory education that focuses on mind, body, and spirit,” said Principal Craig Conticchio. This year’s incoming students attended 23 different schools in 2017-2018.
Not only is there a demand from students, there is a demand amongst teachers to teach JPII students. To accommodate the growing enrollment, the following faculty members have been hired:
Paige Ballance joins JPII to teach English after four-and-a-half years at South Central High School. Prior to South Central, she taught at E.B. Aycock Middle School, the Pitt County Schools Gifted Program, and D.H. Conley High School, tutored at Huntington Learning Center, and was a SAT and ACT tutor.
After spending his entire career in the corporate world, Matt Mason has decided to pursue what he’s wanted to do all along: teach. Mason will be teaching civics and economics, US history, and world history. He is currently enrolled in the NC TEACH program at NC State to receive his full teaching license.
Stephen Brand is looking forward to developing an ensemble and chorus music program with the students at JPII. Teaching allows him to “make cool music with people” and he’s done that with 3-6 year olds at Washington Montessori, K-12 students in school systems across NC, and people of all ages in church and community choirs, choral societies, a barbershop chorus, and music therapy classes. Brand has been a professional steel pan player, professional singer, and directed musicals.
Chris Mitchell comes to JPII from Christ Covenant School where he taught biology, AP biology, anatomy and physiology, and physical science. More than 90% of Mitchell’s AP biology students passed the AP exam. At JPII, Mitchell will teach algebra, biology, AP biology, anatomy and physiology, and a new elective: forensics.
Rebecca Wilson, who previously taught math and instructed SAT and ACT courses at South Central High School, will teach geometry and advanced functions. She has also tutored students and was a SAT/ACT prep course instructor at Sylvan Learning Center. Wilson is a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), Pitt County Association of Educators (PCAE), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
There are also changes and additions in the JPII athletic department:
JPII’s new athletic director Sean Murphy has 30 years of experience in collegiate and high school athletics. Last year, Murphy was head varsity football coach and weight training instructor at East Wake High School in Wendell, NC. Prior to East Wake, he spent 20 years at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, MD where he taught physical education, health, weight training, world civilization, military history, U.S. government, and geography. He was also the head varsity football coach from 1997-2016 (128-84 record with five conference championships and eight regular-season titles), NCAA representative for 15 years, assistant athletic director for 14 years, and coached golf, tennis, and track and field. Murphy started his football coaching career at Towson University and McDaniel College. In addition to being the athletic director, Murphy will teach advanced fitness and health and PE.
Meredith Colhoun takes over for Kelly Krainiak as head volleyball coach. Colhoun has been playing since she was 12, including Triangle Volleyball Club, NC Elite in high school, and currently with the ECU club team. Colhoun helps coach clinics and practices at ECJVC.
In addition to teaching, Matt Mason will be the assistant athletic director and new head coach for Saints baseball. Since 2006, he has coached baseball teams at all levels of play including Greenville Recreation & Parks baseball, Greenville Little League All-Stars, and NYO baseball in northern Atlanta. He is the founder and operator of the Greenville Athletics, a travel baseball organization that has grown from one team to more than 10 in three years. Coach Mason was a multi-sport player in high school, including football and a 3-year starter on the baseball team. His love for playing and coaching baseball began in the highly competitive and nationally renowned East Cobb Baseball program in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA.
Former men’s head basketball coach Keith McLawhorn has stepped down to focus on his player training and development program. He will continue to be involved with JPII training student-athletes. Greg Mullins replaces McLawhorn as the new men’s head basketball coach. Mullins played on the collegiate level for two years and has approximately 18 years of coaching experience including two years at Hobgood Academy where they produced four all-conference players and a 2nd place finish in the conference each year, four years at Ayden Middle School where they finished 2nd place in the conference with only two losses in his last two seasons, and an AAU team with some of this area’s top players that finished 6th nationally with two state titles and two super regional titles.
Chris Mitchell will be the new head coach for men’s and women’s soccer. Mitchell’s soccer career started at the age of 5. He has played internationally on teams from Mexico and Columbia and has won multiple league MVPs and Golden Boot trophies. He coached soccer at Wellcome Middle School from 2004-2007 and at Christ Covenant from 2014-2018 where the JV boys had their first winning season and the varsity girls went to the state playoffs, losing only to teams ranked in the top 10 in the state.
The 2018-2019 school year will feature a first in JPII athletics: cheerleading. The Saints cheerleaders will be coached by Jasmine White, or “Coach J.” White is a Greenville native and lifelong cheerleader who spent the last 5 years coaching at AG Cox Middle School. While at AG Cox, White’s teams were pushed to find their potential. She turned her first team into champions, winning first place at her very first middle school conference competition. Her team repeated as champions her second year and in the years following, White’s teams came within 5 points of first place finishing in second place twice and third once.