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  • Casey Blanton

    School Counselor

  • Jessica Bradsher

    Visual Arts

  • Elizabeth Burris

    Math

  • Rufino Cadierno

    Spanish

  • Mary Catherine Christopher

    Dean of Students & Director of Academic Support

  • Gail Clark

    Math

  • Joe Corley

    English

  • Tim Dameron

    Math

  • Mary Ershadi

    Business Manager

  • Monica Garrido

    Spanish

  • Kylie Gilroy

    Math

  • Megan Goodman

    Performing Arts

  • Jenny Gregory

    Business and Entrepreneurship & Marketing

  • Lacey Hargroder

    Visual Arts

  • Charlie Harvey

    Director of Development

  • Hoodie

    Mascot

  • Justen Infinito

    Theology & Director of Spiritual Life

  • Scott Johnson

    Science

  • Lori Kellum

    Main Office Manager

  • Stéfan Koekemoer

    English

  • Kathy Lyles

    Science & Director of Student Life

  • Jennifer Mabe

    Math & Director of Academic Life

  • Michael Morgan

    Facilities Coordinator

  • Sean Murphy

    Health and PE & Director of Athletic Life

  • Tara Parker

    College Admissions Counselor

  • Sarah Ritchie

    Theology

  • Phillip Schutt

    Science

  • Amy Smith

    Sign Language

  • Doug Smith

    Director of Enrollment Management & Marketing

  • Katie Stanley

    Principal

  • Charetta Walls

    English

  • Blake Willis

    Health and PE

  • Trayce Wilson-Ruffin

    Substitute Educator & Senior Internship Coordinator

  • Zeke Zylis

    Theology

Casey Blanton

School Counselor

Email Casey

Direct Line: 252-481-5313

Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Textile Technology from North Carolina State University
  • Master of Counselor Education from East Carolina University

Casey joined JPII in August of 2021 and she loves the family atmosphere at JPII. “All the staff and faculty are so welcoming and everyone jumps in to help and contribute. We are truly a collective team all working together for the best interest of our students.”

Blanton did not know until later in life that she wanted to be a school counselor (her first career was in manufacturing management). “As cliché as it sounds, the students are the best part of being a school counselor. They keep each day looking different.” As a National Board Certified Counselor with a K-12 school counselor professional educator’s license, she enjoys working with students to make informed choices and understand the many opportunities available to them. “Each student needs to know there are several paths to get to their goals. The key is just finding the right path for each student.”

Blanton has two daughters and in her free time she enjoys watching her daughter ride horses, Sunday dinners at her parents with the kids, and jamming out to their favorite songs on road trips.

Favorite motto: “Laughter doesn’t fix everything but it always fixes something.”

Jessica Bradsher

Visual Arts

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Joined JPII in January 2020

Education:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education and Studio Art from East Carolina University
  • Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from East Carolina University

Jessica Bradsher joined the faculty of JPII in January 2020 as our art teacher to foster the creativity and artistic talents of our students by building an engaging and vibrant art program in an environment that focuses on values and achievement. She loves the family atmosphere at JPII and the incredible dedication our students have to succeed in whatever activity they are passionate about.

She decided to become a teacher after working as a teaching assistant for a really inspiring teacher in high school. “Sharing my skills as an artist has always felt natural to me as I am the oldest of seven children. I grew up teaching and feel that it will always be a part of my life.” Another reason she became a teacher is to watch students discover what inspires them in the art room. “If a student is growing, they are succeeding! In art everyone grows differently, and that is encouraged and appreciated.”

Bradsher was a three-time recipient of the North Carolina Prospective Teacher Scholarship. She received both her bachelor of fine arts (concentration in art education and studio art) and master of fine arts (concentration in sculpture) degrees from East Carolina University.

Away from JPII, you’ll find Jessica proudly showing her outdoor sculpture work nationally and sharing her art with many people and places! She also enjoys spending time with her rescue dog named Indigo and painting watercolor portraits.

Elizabeth Burris

Math

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Joined JPII in August 2022

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Roanoke College
  • Master of Science in Mathematics from Hood College

Elizabeth Burris enjoys being a part of our growing faith-filled community as a member of the math department. “A strong sense of community is definitely present at JPII. I felt a welcoming presence the first time I stepped on campus and I hope my students feel the same way every time they walk into my classroom,” she said.

From as early as she can remember, Burris has always wanted to be a teacher. “I can remember teaching my pretend classroom of stuffed animals when I was in elementary school. That was definitely my quietest class 🙂” She credits her 9th grade English teacher for inspiring her to become a teacher and a “Teach Prep” elective class in high school for helping her to realize she wanted to have a classroom of her own.

Burris believes in creating a positive, safe, and student-centered learning environment where students are engaged, challenged, and encouraged to take risks. “I believe in making math fun, meaningful, and memorable through teamwork, games, technology, and hands-on activities. When students have those ‘ah-ha’ moments – that brings me so much joy!”

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family (she and her husband have three children), shopping, and playing word games. “I love puzzles and I love college basketball – especially March Madness!”

Rufino Cadierno

Spanish

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Joined JPII in August 2019

Education:

  • University Degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid
  • NCTeach Lateral Entry Certificate from East Carolina University

Rufino Cadierno teaches because he enjoyed school as a student and teaching is an opportunity to leave the world a better place than he found it. “You have the opportunity to make a positive, lifelong impact on the lives of your students.” Cadierno is at JPII to be a part of the tradition of educational excellence in Catholic schools and because JPII provides a safe, healthy environment with many opportunities for students to thrive. “I am a big believer in inspiring the students’ curiosity about the world around us and teaching a foreign language gives you the possibility to make the world a better place by introducing students to other cultures.”

Cadierno is a native Spaniard and married with two children. In his free time he enjoys exercising, spending time with family, and traveling.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ Saint Augustine

Mary Catherine Christopher

Dean of Students & Director of Academic Support

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from East Carolina University

Mary Catherine Christopher has more than 20 years of teaching experience with 15 of those in Catholic education. Christopher was previously the middle school division director at Saint Peter Catholic School and taught English. She believes JPII is truly a family and loves how the faculty, staff, and students all help create an amazing and loving environment. “I love the smiles of the students as they enter the building everyday!”

Christopher loves working with students, seeing them succeed and grow, and helping them reach that “ah ha!” moment. “I knew when I was in 1st grade that I wanted to be a teacher. I never thought about anything else. The teachers I had growing up made such an impact on me that I wanted to be that same force in other students’ lives.” Her greatest reward has been forming relationships with her students that have lasted beyond the classroom and one of the ways she does that is by employing a philosophy her first principal taught her: “I don’t care how you get from Point A to Point B, let’s just end up there together.”

In her free time Christopher enjoys time with her husband Chris and their family preferably at the beach or Disney World. “I am a Disney Lover 😁”

Gail Clark

Math

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Joined JPII in August 2022

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from East Carolina University
  • Teacher Certification in Middle Grades Education with a concentration in Math and Science from East Carolina University

Teaching math at JPII fulfills one of Gail Clark’s career objectives: to teach at a private Catholic school since she is from a devout Catholic family.

Clark has loved math ever since she was a child but the idea of teaching math did not come about until she worked in the business industry for two years with very little human interaction. Becoming a teacher has provided her with the personal interaction she wanted.

When students enter her classroom, Clark wants them to feel a positive environment. “My lessons have always been and will continue to be engaging and challenging. I use different learning styles that will meet the needs of each student.” She enjoys watching students get excited about the lesson they are working on in class, how they get engaged in the lesson, and seeing their eyes light up when they get the answer correct. “When the students walk out of my classroom, I want them to say ‘hey, math was fun today.'”

Clark has been married to her husband Joel for 34 years and they have two children. In her free time she loves to garden, take afternoon walks with her husband, and spend time with her family.

Joe Corley

English

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Joined JPII in October 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a Minor in Political Science from East Carolina University

Joe Corley joined the faculty after spending more than 25 years in print journalism, working mostly in sports. While his wife Bonnie was in medical school at Wake Forest, he worked his way up from reporter at a small daily in Reidsville, N.C., to the assistant sports editor of a group of 24 weeklies in Columbus, Ohio, with a combined circulation of more than 600,000. In that capacity, he tutored numerous young writers in improving their craft. Corley has won awards from the North Carolina Press Association and other associations in Ohio where he spent much of his career. Additionally, reporters under him have earned dozens of awards including several for top writers in the state. He stresses clear, detailed, factually correct, and insightful writing that shows a deep understanding of the subject. As his students can verify, he detests plagiarism and laziness!

Corley cares about every one of his students as individuals and finds a way to connect with them so they can learn effectively. Although he has only been a teacher at JPII for just a short time, he has been a part of the school family since the 2014-15 school year. Two of his children are JPII graduates (’18, ’20) and his youngest will graduate in 2023. He has been the cross country coach since 2015 and has assisted with baseball since 2019. Corley and his wife of more than 30 years love JPII and count themselves fortunate to be part of the JPII family!

Corley ran collegiately for ECU in the late 1980s, and was a regionally competitive runner for many years afterward, up until the early 2010s. After a partial knee replacement in 2020, he now is an avid cyclist. If you see him on the roads of eastern North Carolina, give him a little space. He doesn’t want to get hit … again.

Tim Dameron

Math

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education from East Carolina University
  • Master of Arts in Middle School Mathematics from East Carolina University

In addition to teaching math at JPII, Tim Dameron is an instructor in the College of Education at East Carolina University. He specifically teaches in the elementary and middle grades department where he instructs future middle grades teachers best teaching practices in curriculum, instruction, assessment, classroom management, and teaching seminars in all core subject areas: math, social studies, science, and English.

Dameron has been “super impressed” iwth the work ethic of JPII students. “There is a genuine desire to learn! It’s not just about what’s on the test or if they will use it in the future, but the students want to learn the material for the sake of learning. It’s very refreshing!”

When Dameron’s high school math teacher allowed him to explain homework problems on the board for his classmates, he knew he wanted to be a teacher. “It’s rewarding to be able to teach students a subject in which so many of them are afraid.” He holds a professional educator’s M-class License for Secondary Mathematics Grades 9-12. At previous schools, Dameron served as a math department chair, a facilitating teacher of ACT preparation, clinical teacher for secondary math interns from ECU, and was named Teacher of the Year.

Outside of the classroom, Dameron enjoys all things soccer including coaching his daughter’s PGSA team and watching Liverpool play soccer. He was the women’s head soccer coach at J.H. Rose for 12 years and founded the Fitness, Agility, Speed Training (F.A.S.T) soccer skills camp.

Mary Ershadi

Business Manager

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Direct Line: 252-481-5318

Joined JPII in August 2021

Monica Garrido

Spanish

Email Monica

Joined JPII in August 2021

Kylie Gilroy

Math

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in Secondary Education from Worcester State University

When Kylie Gilroy started working at JPII, she feel like she didn’t just join a school, she joined a family. “Months of praying led me to multiple schools, but after meeting with some of the staff at JPII, I feel my prayers have been answered and I have found where I am meant to be. The loving and supportive atmosphere that surrounds JPII allows me to thrive in my work and grow as a person.”

Gilroy’s initial college major was engineering. “After a year of engineering school, I decided that although I liked engineering, I did not love it. I took a semester away from school to focus on finding what I am most passionate about, which led me into the education field upon my return to college.”

As an educator, Gilroy believes it is her job to teach students in the way they learn best in order to push students to their full intellectual potential. “I have a drive to customize each day to meet the needs of my students because every student has different strengths, gifts, and dreams.” She also believes it is her job as a teacher to shape students into honest, independent, and collaborative citizens, as well as to help develop their moral compass.

Gilroy’s message to her students is that she wants them to know that her classroom is a place to feel safe. “Not only should they feel physically safe from the outside world and outside problems, but they should also feel comfortable with taking academic risks. I like to foster an environment that encourages students to be supportive of each other and encourage academic risks.” Getting to know her students is a priority for Gilroy. “For me it’s more than just teaching math to my students. I love getting to know my students and forming those personal relationships throughout the school year. Establishing trust allows me to be there for my students both inside and outside the classroom.”

Gilroy, who is originally from Ohio, enjoys spending her free time outdoors whether it’s at the beach, on a hike, or on a road trip.

Megan Goodman

Performing Arts

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Joined JPII in August 2019

Education:

  • Bachelor of Music Education from Temple University
  • Master of Music Education from Temple University

Megan Goodman loves seeing her students push themselves in a way they don’t get to experience in their traditional classes. “I love seeing them take big, vulnerable risks for and with their classmates. I love seeing them shine and help others around them shine. I love creating a space with my students where we can do all of these things together.” And for Goodman, there is no better place that JPII to do this. “The staff supports each other, the students support each other, the staff supports the students, and the students support the staff. That sense of community is very hard to find in a school setting.”

Goodman herself intended to be a performer but decided on teaching during her sophomore year of college. She chose to become a teacher because she wants to provide the next generation of students with the same enriching experiences provided to her by her music teachers. “I meet my students where they are at, help them identify their strengths, weaknesses, and goals, and work together with them to achieve those goals,” she said. “I love seeing my students succeed!”

If you see Goodman outside of JPII, she is most likely to be training for her next race. “I love to train for very long races to see what my body and mind can do.”

Jenny Gregory

Business and Entrepreneurship & Marketing

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Joined JPII in January 2022

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing) from East Carolina University
  • Master of Science in Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology

Jenny Gregory loves seeing her students have passion for a subject outside the traditional core classes. “They get to explore many different aspects of the business world and they take my class because they truly want to learn about business. It’s opening a whole world to students.”

Gregory has been a JPII parent since 2017 and has seen from two perspectives how the school is dedicated to the needs of the students and truly wants to make their educational experience one they will never forget.

Away from the classroom, Gregory enjoys time with her golden retriever Scarlett and everything “beach.” During the summers and on vacations, you’ll find her hanging out on the sand and enjoying paddle boarding.

Lacey Hargroder

Visual Arts

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Joined JPII in August 2022

Education:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (Printmaking and Ceramics) with a Minor in Art History from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from East Carolina University

Lacey Hargroder teaches pottery where she helps our students explore the functional and sculptural aspects of clay and other art mediums to create works of art that convey original ideas. “I love the ‘ah ha’ moments when my students problem-solve in the process of creating their own original ideas in art. I seek to learn from my students’ fresh perspective, which is the beauty of fostering a collaborative, creative community.”

Hargroder was inspired to teach art by her high school art teacher who taught her so much more than art. “Her kindness and encouragement had a lasting effect on my self-confidence and ambition to do what I love most in life. She encouraged me to pursue art in college and this is when I knew I wanted to help people find their passion and self-confidence through art and teaching.”

Hargroder comes from a Cajun and Puerto Rican background, so cooking is the heart of her home life. Away from the classroom she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two-year-old son, Fender, and baby girl, Charlie. They like to hang out in their backyard with their two dogs Birdie and Frida. She also loves to work in her garden, mostly growing things that look pretty and smell nice.

“Life is art. Art is life. I never separate the two.” ~ Ai Weiwei.

Charlie Harvey

Director of Development

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Direct Line: 252-481-5342

Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from George Mason University
  • Master of Arts in Physical Education from East Carolina University

Charlie Harvey came to JPII after a 20+ year career in teaching as well as coaching soccer and swimming in the Pitt County Schools system. He has been named the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Conference Coach of the Year 17 times and is a two-time North Carolina Coaches Association Region III Coach of the Year. Harvey has also taught at East Carolina University and was the head men’s soccer coach.

For Harvey, the families, staff, faculty, and students make JPII a wonderful place to teach and work. Outside of work, he loves being with his family whenever possible. He enjoys watching sports and in the summer crabbing and boating take up most of his time.

Hoodie

Mascot

Hoodie is our live mascot that was introduced to the student body at the Homecoming pep rally in October 2021. Hoodie enjoys visiting campus during sporting events and, from time to time, can even be found walking the halls or hanging out in the main office.

Justen Infinito

Theology & Director of Spiritual Life

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Joined JPII in August 2022

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from New York University
  • Master of Education in Philosophy for Children from Montclair State University
  • Doctorate in Philosophical Foundations of Education from UNC-Greensboro
  • Certificate in Formational Prayer from Ashland Theological Seminary

Justen Infinito is a mother of five who has spent decades educating others and cultivating souls. Prior to JPII she taught middle school religion and English at Saint Paul Catholic School in New Bern and for many years was a tenured university professor of philosophy.

In her letter of interest to join JPII, Infinito wrote “allow me to express the joy inherent in developing reflective Catholic young men and women who know themselves to be infinitely loved. Nurturing their relationships with their friend and Savior Jesus Christ, examining the seemingly infinite wisdom of the scriptures, and attending to how best to live as individuals as a community of Christians and as citizens of the world, is a privilege. I firmly believe that education is primarily relational; that it is our duty to present students with all that is beautiful, true, and good according to God so that they too may come to recognize it and seek it always. Caring for souls is the basis of Catholic education and our model is Christ Himself whose only goal was to help us gain eternity and whose only motivation came from His Father in heaven.”

Students can expect Infinito’s classroom to be a space where “heart can speak to heart” and where cura animarum (care of souls) takes precedence. “It is beautiful when students act lovingly toward one another, when they make the connection that what they’re learning, what they believe, and who they become matters.” She believes that while didactic teaching of content is necessary, the search for truth (even spiritual knowing) is dialogic – meaning that teacher and students are engaged in an ongoing discursive inquiry and her teaching style very much reflects this.

Infinito founded Sophia House Ministry where she provides spiritual direction and attends to the emotional, mental, and relational healing of persons through formational prayer. Following her mentor Dcn. Dr. Michael Mahoney, she assists individuals in their healing through structured/inner prayer, sustains those in the midst of crisis, guides those confronting daily decisions or ultimate concerns, and nurtures young and old to develop their potentialities on the life journey through education and the care of the soul.

In recent years she has done mission work at Assumption High School, Kenya. There, she lectured and offered workshops on topics pertaining to the faith to parishes and members of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, the Catholic Women’s Association, and the Youth Association. She taught Ethics and Philosophy and provided academic and admissions advising to high school and college students.

Infinito studied and acted professionally in New York City – she loves the theatre and performed staged readings of holy women including Julian of Norwich, Edith Stein, and Dorothy Day. In her free time she prefers to do anything that involves visits from her grown children and playing on the water!

Scott Johnson

Science

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Science Education (Chemistry) from East Carolina University

Scott Johnson retired from the public school system after 29 years but chose to continue teaching chemistry at JPII. During those 29 years, Johnson taught locally at South Central for 12 years (including two as department chair) and the last four years at J.H. Rose where he has been a member of the school improvement team and taught standard, honors, and AP chemistry.

Johnson became a teacher after working as a counselor at Camp Willow Run for two summers after his freshman year in college. It was there he realized he could combine his love for science with his personality that enjoys working with teenagers. “I love science, so I wanted a career in science. However, a career in a lab or in industry wasn’t appealing to me. Working with the public and with students suited my personality better so I went into education.” Johnson describes his classroom as “hands-on as much as space, materials, and resources allow with lots of practice! Reinforce and repeat.” He enjoys seeing students grow, learn, become successful and following them from just learning about science all the way to becoming adults and having careers and families. He most appreciates the mission and family atmosphere at JPII as well as all the opportunities the students have in the arts, clubs, and athletics.

Since entering the classroom, he has been a supervising teacher for six East Carolina University science education interns including the Most Outstanding Intern for the 2009 graduating class. While at South Central he coached track and cross country and he coached basketball and cross country at Hickory High School. In his free time, he enjoys spending as much time with his adult children as possible, lots of long walks with his dog, traveling, fishing, woodworking, and attending athletic events at JPII and ECU.

Lori Kellum

Main Office Manager

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Direct Line: 252-215-1224

Joined JPII in August 2021

Lori Kellum is who visitors first meet when entering our school and while her official title is main office manager, she really is our “director of first impressions” (and unofficial candy pusher! 😁) who warmly welcomes guests and tends to whatever needs a student has.

After studying communications at East Carolina University, Lori was a stay-at-home mom, worked as a teacher’s assistant with St. Timothy’s preschool, was the director of the middle school ministry for St. Peter Catholic Church, and then spent many more years as a stay-at-home mom before joining the JPII family. “I love so many things about our school! I love the students; there are not enough words to describe how wonderful they are! I love the people I work with because I think our faculty and staff are outstanding in every way. Most of all I love that we are a family that is centered around Christ. Jesus is at the heart of everything we do.”

Lori and her husband Keith have four children. Nate, a geologist; Sumner, a member of the JPII inaugural class of 2014 who teaches 8th grade science; Jude, a junior at JPII; and Lily who is in 6th grade at St. Peter Catholic School. She loves spending time with her family and friends, reading, listening to music, and playing video games (current favorite: Pokemon Legends: Arceus). “My favorite thing to do is: LAUGH!”

Stéfan Koekemoer

English

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English and Medieval Studies from Rutgers University
  • Master of Arts in English from the University of New Mexico

Few things bring Stéfan Koekemoer as much joy as learning and helping others learn. “I became a teacher to share my love of learning and to help others build confidence in their own skills and intellectual abilities.” Koekemoer knew he wanted to become a teacher after tutoring college and high school students during his undergraduate years. “Seeing my students grow more confident and more adept at reading, writing, and analysis was deeply rewarding and I quickly realized that I wanted to become a teacher.”

Koekemoer chose to join JPII because its values resonate with his own and also because he found the English program (with its focus on great literature) to be very impressive and exciting. He enjoys connecting with students and sharing his love of literature and language, exchanging ideas, and seeing students grow in both their personal and intellectual pursuits. What he loves the most about JPII are the people. “I feel beyond fortunate to be teaching such intelligent, creative, and good-hearted students. It has been a joy to see them grow in their comprehension of great literature, to see them consider the beauty of language, and to guide their development of essential writing skills. Working closely alongside my colleagues has been a joy as well.”

Koekemoer designs his classes and assignments around accommodating various learning styles and needs. “While my teaching does regularly include mini-lectures, my classes are chiefly structured around student interaction, whether it be in the form of free-writes, hands-on activities, group discussions, or full class discussions.” Koekemoer sees engaging students on a personal level as essential to teaching because it allows students to feel more comfortable in asking questions. “Providing an open channel of communication between teacher and student maximizes learning potential while making learning truly rewarding and enjoyable. I strive, moreover, to make English literature come alive and to feel relevant and exciting to my students.”

In his free time, Koekemoer likes spending his time reading, writing, drawing, playing music, and working on his own academic research.

Kathy Lyles

Science & Director of Student Life

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Joined JPII in August 2020

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Science Education from Virginia Tech University

Teaching has been a life-long calling for Kathy Lyles who remembers wanting to be a teacher at the age of 5. “I taught my dolls,” she said. It was a calling that she tried to resist in college, but ended up switching majors at Virginia Tech. “I believe what’s most important is to help a student grow and learn. All kids have a natural curiosity and truly want to learn. It’s important to get to know your student to help them tap into their desire to learn,” she said. Lyles has taught science for 28 years (16 of those as a department chair) but enjoys the family-like atmosphere at JPII that takes the whole child into consideration.

Lyles has lived in two other countries: Canada (high school) and Germany (middle school). She and her husband of 40 years Dell have three grown daughters and a couple of granddogs. In her free time she enjoys traveling, painting, and creating and selling pottery.

When asked why she enjoys teaching, she said, “No two days are ever the same. Kids are great fun and keep me you. They say and do the most interesting things!”

Jennifer Mabe

Math & Director of Academic Life

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Art in Communication from East Carolina University
  • Bachelor of Science in Secondary Math Education from East Carolina University

Jennifer Mabe (or Mamma Mabe as she’s known at JPII) loves how she can feel the grace and love of Jesus permeating through the walls of each classroom and on every court and field at JPII because it is more than a school – it’s a family.

Mabe loves transforming students’ perspectives on school – especially math! She believes that it is her job, as a teacher, to create an environment where students want to learn and where they can be actively involved in the learning process. “I REALLY enjoy turning students’ opinions of math class from ‘ugggghhh, math is next’ to ‘yessss, math is next!’ My goal is to meet each student where they are, to create a learning environment where students are confident enough to try, to encourage students when they make mistakes, and to celebrate with them when they find success. Math can be fun…and I accept the challenge to show each student this truth!” She believes that making math relevant to students and providing multiple opportunities for inquiry-based lessons allows students to “own” their education. “High school is an important time in the life of a young adult, and helping them grow as individuals and achieve their academic goals gives me great satisfaction,” she said.

Mabe has a diverse teaching background which includes the traditional setting for seven years at J.H. Rose High School (co-department chair), Pitt County School Early College High School (department chair), Greenville Learning Center, and then three years as an online math instructor for Pitt County Schools Virtual Academy and North Carolina Virtual Public Schools. She has taught Math I, II, III, and IV as well as Discrete Math.

In her free time she and her husband enjoy watching their three children play PGSA soccer and recreational baseball. She also enjoys baking goodies for friends and leading inductive Bible studies.

Michael Morgan

Facilities Coordinator

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Joined JPII in June 2018

Sean Murphy

Health and PE & Director of Athletic Life

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Joined JPII in August 2018

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from Towson University
  • Master of Science in Physical Education from McDaniel College

Sean Murphy has chosen Catholic education because he appreciates how the Catholic school environment provides a foundation in faith, character development, and values that prepares students to be successful citizens in our society. “I always try to engage and challenge my students with lots of questions so they can begin to critically think for themselves. I enjoy running into former students of mine years later and seeing the person that they have become. It’s very rewarding.”

During his teaching career, Murphy has taught physical education, health, weight training, world civilization, military history, U.S. government, and geography. At his previous Catholic school (Archbishop Curley in Baltimore), 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.

Murphy’s wife Lynne is an assistant professor of occupational therapy at ECU. They have two adult daughters and a son-in-law. In his free time, Murphy can be found at just about any sporting event at any level!

Tara Parker

College Admissions Counselor

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sports Science from East Carolina University
  • Master of School Administration from East Carolina University
  • Master of Science Education from East Carolina University
  • Doctorate in Educational Leadership from North Carolina State University

Dr. Parker is the owner and college admissions consultant at Premier College Prep Consulting, LLC and we contract with her to provide college admissions consulting for our students. She created Premier after spending 15 years working as a school administrator (nine of those with high school students) as a principal, assistant principal, testing coordinator, and coordinator for a high school workforce development program. Throughout these positions, Parker worked with thousands of high school students in the areas of course guidance, graduation requirements, preparing for college, college applications, college essays, interview preparation, and final college selection. She also has extensive knowledge of athletics and the NCAA eligibility process.

​When she is not working with clients, Dr. Parker enjoys spending time with her husband and three teenage children who are very active in travel baseball and volleyball. She is a member of the East Carolina University Alumni Association Board of Directors and the East Carolina Junior Volleyball Club Executive Board.

Sarah Ritchie

Theology

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Joined JPII in August 2022

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Theology with a Minor in Education from Saint Louis University

Sarah Ritchie enjoys teaching because no day is ever the same and she loves how subjects are evolving and you learn more from your students in the classroom than you would by reading a book. She utilizes the classroom in hopes of influencing students in their passions and faith while guiding them closer to God.

“In college I knew I wanted to teach because I spent my summers as a camp counselor and it was very fulfilling. I knew I wanted to spend more time in the classroom with that energy.” Ritchie attended Catholic school in Michigan and credits her teachers there with inspiring her in theology and service work and hopes to be just as engaging and impactful to the students she teaches. She describes her teaching style as “very humanistic and student-centered in an environment that focuses on more of your spiritual and emotional well-being along with academics.”

Ritchie received the Sr. Mary Antona Ebo Award from Saint Louis University which is given to a senior who has demonstrated excellence both in their academic work and in their commitment to promoting faith and justice in the spirit of the Gospels. As part of her degree, she completed more than 110 hours of student teaching at Saint Louis University High School, a Jesuit college preparatory school.

Ritchie enjoys the outdoors going on runs, taking her dog on walks, and anticipates spending a lot of time at the beach once she moves to NC. She also loves to cook and hanging out with her friends and family.

Phillip Schutt

Science

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Biology from The College of William and Mary
  • Master of Environmental Science from Duke University

Phillip Schutt finds the natural world around us to be extremely interesting and exciting, and he wants others to see God’s creation the way he does! Starting in August, he will teach life sciences at JPII including biology and anatomy and physiology. He enjoys teaching in a faith-based school where he can help students explore the relationship between science and faith and how they are not mutually exclusive.

Prior to JPII, Schutt was a biology instructor at Pitt Community College, teaching general biology for science majors and non-science majors as well as overseeing as lead instructor a course on developmental level anatomy and physiology. He has also tutored at Huntington Learning Center. He knew he wanted to become a teacher when he realized that other students in high school and college often struggled with topics he easily understood. “I wanted to help them understand it too so they could see how interesting the topics were.”

Schutt believes in getting students to see how everything works in the grand scheme of things, and then they can learn all the big scientific names for those things. “Memorization, while helpful, does no good if the student does not understand the big picture. The best part of being a teacher is seeing that ‘a-ha!’ moment in a student’s eyes when they finally grasp how a seemingly tricky concept is really quite simple.”

Away from the classroom, he enjoys playing board games, card games, video games (sense a theme?), and walking in the woods looking at creatures.

Amy Smith

Sign Language

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Minor in Interpreting for the Deaf from East Carolina University
  • Basic Interpreter Training Program from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Amy Smith has nearly 30 years of interpreting experience in a variety of community, mental health, medical, and educational settings. She enjoys helping our students expand their knowledge about a language and culture that many people see every day but do not know much about. “I love seeing students learn a new language and its culture and begin to communicate in a way they never knew before. I love the learning process and seeing young minds experience something new.”

According to Smith, the small class sizes at JPII are perfect for teaching and learning ASL. “ASL is a visual gestural language with its own grammar and syntax, etc. You can not teach by lecturing. I have students actively involved in the process; hands up and moving and voices off while learning to use the language.” Beyond the ability to teach small classes, Smith describes the bond between the faculty, staff, and students as “incredible” and loves seeing the students in more than just the classroom – on stage and on our fields and courts.

Smith has been an adjunct lecturer for American Sign Language Studies classes at East Carolina University as well as an interpreter, instructor, and assistant director for Disability Support Services at ECU. For the past 15+ years she has been a video relay interpreter in addition to freelancing as an interpreter.

Smith holds a North Carolina Interpreter/Transliterator license and certificates of interpretation and transliteration from the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling to the beach or the mountains. Her youngest child plays travel volleyball so they spend a lot of time at tournaments which they love!

Motto: Everyday is a new day to learn more, try harder, do better!

Doug Smith

Director of Enrollment Management & Marketing

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Direct Line: 252-481-5317

Joined JPII in November 2017

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing) with a Minor in Communications (Public Relations) from East Carolina University
  • Certificate in Technical and Professional Communication from East Carolina University

Doug Smith primarily works with prospective students and their families to ensure they have all the information they need to make an informed decision about a JPII education. He is also the in-house technology guru and leads the school’s marketing and communications efforts to include jp2highschool.com and jp2sports.com, social media, school branding, and working with members of the local media.

Smith has more than 20 years of marketing and communications experience. Prior to JPII he was a product marketing specialist with Hyster-Yale Group and served in various communications and fundraising roles over 15 years with the Alumni Association and Annual Giving at East Carolina University.

​“I was drawn to this position because of the opportunity to work with people who will have a lasting impact on JPII. It is a blessing to be able to work with potential students who are looking to combine their faith with their education and go on to accomplish amazing things.”

JPII is a family affair for Doug and his wife Stephanie; their daughter Hannah is a Class of 2022 graduate and their son Ryan is a member of the Class of 2024. Smith enjoys photography and videography, watching sporting events of all kinds, listening to music of all kinds, and being an Apple geek.

Katie Stanley

Principal

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Taught at JPII from 2014-2019 and Returned in July 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Business from Appalachian State University
  • NCTeach Lateral Entry Certificate from East Carolina University
  • Master of Arts in School Administration from Appalachian State University

Katie Stanley became the fourth principal of JPII prior to the 2021-2022 school year. She is a NC certified principal and during her education career she has held numerous leadership positions including chairing departments, serving on school improvement teams, and as director of student life at JPII from 2016-2019. She loves our family atmosphere and being surrounded each day by the energy and optimism of the students.

Stanley and her husband Hunt have two daughters: Katherine (who is a member of the Class of 2023) and Marianna.

Motto: Don’t wait for it not to be hard to be happy.  Choose joy!

Charetta Walls

English

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Joined JPII in August 2019

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English from East Carolina University
  • Master of Arts in English Education from East Carolina University

Charetta Walls knew in the 6th grade that she wanted to be a teacher. “I enjoy creating lessons that cause students to become curious.” She believes that it is imperative for students of all ages to see themselves as a relevant part of the educational process in order to make a positive difference in the world. “I am convinced that the goal of education is to help students develop academically, think critically, work collaboratively, as well as, to develop literacy skills that equip them with the necessary skills to function in society today.”

Throughout her career, Walls has taught English Language Arts 7 and English I, III, IV. As an English teacher she loves creating lessons that connect current events, music, writing, and critical thinking. She believes in setting high standards for herself, her students, and her colleagues. “It is important that I help my students understand the three R’s: rigor, relevance, and relationships. During these economic times, students must be challenged; lessons should be rigorous but relevant in order to empower students for success in an ever-changing world.”

Some of her most memorable experiences at JPII are learning more about engaging students at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, GA and Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching. She enjoys participating in student retreats, attending prom, and other student activities. Most of all she likes to have her students think out of the box about literature.

Walls has one daughter, no dogs, cats, or birds! She enjoys attending plays, traveling, reading, and dancing.   Some of her favorite books are The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne,  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines.

Blake Willis

Health and PE

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Joined JPII in August 2021

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Fitness Specialist from East Carolina University (endorsed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association)

In high school, Blake Willis took a class where he was able to visit local schools to help with PE classes. After that experience, he knew teaching was something he was very interested in pursuing. While at ECU, Willis completed an internship at Saint Peter Catholic School where he was a middle school assistant teacher, co-athletic director, and helped coach baseball. It was during his internship at Saint Peter that he became positive that teaching is what he wants to do with his life. “I love working with kids. Watching the students grow in their faith and their education has been such a privilege and something that I hope I can continue to do for many years to come.”

Willis loves how close knit JPII is and enjoys interacting with the students and helping them with whatever is needed. “Being able to supply students with the knowledge they need to make good choices and succeed is such an awesome feeling. Teachers play a huge role in the lives of children and if I am able to be a role model and help kids grow, that’s an awesome opportunity.”

Prior to attending ECU, Willis joined the United States Army where he passed the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program and was assigned to the 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment from 2012-2015. He went on two combat deployments to Afghanistan while serving in Ranger Battalion.

In his free time, Willis loves spending time with his family and dogs, hunting, fishing, working out, and playing men’s softball.

Trayce Wilson-Ruffin

Substitute Educator & Senior Internship Coordinator

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Joined JPII in August 2020

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Sport Studies with a minor in Business Administration from East Carolina University

Every successful school needs a Trayce Wilson-Ruffin! Trayce is the epitome of a team player and fills many important roles in our school including:

  • Senior Internship Coordinator
  • Substitute Educator
  • Lunch Coordinator
  • Sophomore SGA Advisor
  • Intramural Sports
  • Head Volleyball Coach

He also coaches at East Carolina Junior Volleyball Club (ECJVC) which he has done since November of 2015.

Zeke Zylis

Theology

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Joined JPII in August 2020

Education:

  • Bachelor’s of Arts in Philosophy from St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami
  • Currently working on Master of Arts in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville

From an early age, Zeke Zylis developed a love for learning about the Roman Catholic faith he was given through his parents, godfather, and priests. As he grew, his curiosity for the faith invited him into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is this relationship with Christ and love of learning that led him to teach theology at JPII where he enjoys the ability to grow, change, and try new things as well as learning more about the faculty, teachers, and students.

Zylis first wanted to become a teacher while reflecting on the teachers in his life and how they formed him in the Christian values. “The first teachers are the parents; therefore, I believe teachers need to carry on the ideal Christian life from the home into the classroom. As a teacher, I cannot sit on my ‘high horse’ pretending to know everything; I have to walk at their level and humble myself to allow for Christ to work.” What does Zylis love the most about teaching? “The questions from the students, engaging them in discussions about the Catholic faith.”

In his free time, Zylis enjoys meeting new people, spending time with friends, and being outside either hiking, biking, or kayaking. He likes to end his day in silence with a holy hour, reading a book, or praying the rosary.

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