JPII to Transition to Independent Catholic School on July 1, 2021

On, Friday, January 22, 2021, Diocese of Raleigh Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama and Superintendent of Catholic Schools Lytia Reese announced that John Paul II Catholic High School will transition from a diocesan school to an independent, diocesan-approved, college preparatory Catholic private high school on July 1, 2021.

Why the change?

The addition and expansion of school facilities and amenities at John Paul II Catholic High School have grown significantly over the past several years and in the best interest of continued growth, the school will transition to an independent, diocesan-approved, college preparatory, Catholic private high school on July 1, 2021. This change, which was prompted by the recent growth and success of the school, will enable the school to continue to flourish by maintaining and expanding investment beyond the diocese’s ability to do so in the current structure. The development path and change in governance structure is unique to JPII and is not indicative of any potential changes to other schools in the Diocese of Raleigh system.

Will John Paul II still be Catholic?

Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama of the Diocese of Raleigh has blessed this transition and is thankful to the Balots for their commitment to excellence in Catholic education in eastern North Carolina. To maintain the designation of an independent Catholic school, the theology curriculum, textbooks, and materials must meet certain standards established by the Diocese of Raleigh. Theology teachers must meet catechist certification standards outlined by the Diocese of Raleigh. The principal and assistant principal will both always be Catholic. Additionally, the Diocese of Raleigh will provide assistance to ensure that the students, faculty, and staff have access to a chaplain. Overall, the Catholic Identity of JPII should remain the same.

Who will be operating the school?

Mr. Richard and Mrs. Colleen Balot will be the new operators of John Paul II Catholic High School. Mr. and Mrs. Balot became involved in JPII when Mr. Balot was on the exploratory committee and a founding board member of the Board of Directors for JPII. Since then, both of them have shared their time, talents, and treasure to grow JPII, investments which have been integral to JPII becoming the fastest-growing private high school in eastern North Carolina. Some of those investments include $2M in tuition assistance and numerous facility enhancements. The Balots currently own the entire campus and have for years. The Balots will be operating JPII as a 501(c)3 NONPROFIT as part of their philanthropic commitment to Greenville and the Catholic community. Mrs. Balot and their four children are members of the Catholic Church.

Will the name of the school change?

No.

Starting on July 1, 2021, how will day-to-day operations be handled?

The day-to-day operation of the school will look very much like it does now. The Balots will delegate this responsibility to the principal who will lead the faculty and staff. A new board will also be put in place to advise the school.

Who will be the principal?

Katie Stanley, who has spent the last 7 years in Catholic education at Saint Peter and JPII, will be returning to JPII as the principal for 2021-22 once JPII officially becomes independent on July 1. During her 15 years in education, 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. In 2017, she participated in the Diocese of Raleigh Leadership Academy and the Cardinal Gibbons High School Educator Leadership Conference.

Stanley is certified as a NC principal and holds a Master of Arts in school administration from the Reich School of Education at Appalachian State University where she was the recipient of the Jerome H. Melton Scholarship for Teaching and School Administration. She and her husband Hunt have two daughters: Katherine (who will be joining the JPII family in August) and Marianna.

Will the curriculum change?

The curriculum will NOT change, but additional classes will be offered.

Are there any other educational staff changes planned?

ALL of the current JPII teachers and assistant principal have been offered positions for the 2021-22 school year. Most of them have verbally stated they plan to stay but similar to the current process they will receive a contract offer in the coming months to make an official commitment. We want JPII students to benefit from the best possible educators so all returning education staff will receive an increase in pay.

What additional staff changes are planned?

We plan to hire a new college counselor, guidance counselor, resource teacher, business office manager, and additional teachers to support the growth of the student body (graduating 16 students this year and planning for another freshman class of 60).

Will the school still be accredited?

Currently, JPII is accredited by Cognia. The diocese will provide the Balots with the necessary information to apply for accreditation under the new entity which will be done immediately.

Will JPII graduates still meet or exceed the minimum undergraduate admissions requirements at all 16 constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina?

Yes. Students will continue to receive the rigorous academics associated with a Catholic education to prepare them for college.

Will college placement assistance still be provided?

Yes. JPII students benefit from the assistance of a full-time college counselor and not only will that continue, but additional guidance resources will be added to provide our students and parents the smoothest transition possible from JPII to the college of their choice.

Will the athletics programs/sports change?

Participation in competitive athletics is an integral part of every student’s educational experience at JPII, whether he or she is playing or supporting our teams as a spectator. JPII offers a wide array of sports teams and there are only plans to increase the sports teams. Any changes to the athletics program will only enhance the opportunities and experience of our student-athletes.

Will the school remain in the same conference?

At this time there are no plans to change athletic conferences.

Who will be the athletic director?

Sean Murphy will be reinstated as athletic director for the 2021-22 school year.

Will tuition increase?

A tuition increase for the 2021-2022 school year was previously scheduled and announced to returning and prospective families in November 2020. No additional tuition changes for next school year will occur beyond the prior announcement.

What if I have already pre-registered and/or pre-paid tuition for fall 2021 school year?

For parents who have already submitted their re-enrollment form and fees for 2021-2022, those will transfer. If a parent wishes to withdraw their student’s registration or re-enrollment, the school will refund any fees paid for the 2021-2022 school year.

What if my child has already applied and/or been accepted for the 2021-22 school year?

The status of students who have applied for the 2021-2022 school year does not change. If your student has been accepted, we look forward to your family joining the JPII community over the coming months. For those students who are currently in the admissions process, that process continues. Parents who have questions or concerns should contact the Director of Admissions Doug Smith (dsmith@jp2highschool.com or 252-481-5317).

Who does my child contact for transcripts of their academic record?

For now, students graduating on or before June 2021 will continue to contact College Counselor Kali Hanson to obtain official transcripts. After July 1, alumni from 2014-2021 will need to contact the Diocese of Raleigh Catholic Schools Office to obtain official transcripts.

Will the school have the same admissions contact?

Yes. Doug Smith is the Director of Admissions and can be reached at 252-481-5317 or dsmith@jp2highschool.com.

What changes are planned for 2021-22 school year?

  • Academics
    • Additional foreign languages are planned to be offered.
    • Additional electives are planned to be offered.
    • Additional AP classes are planned to be offered.
  • Student Life
    • A full-time, licensed guidance counselor will be hired (in addition to the college counselor)
  • Athletics
    • Additional sports will be added such as softball, tennis, and wrestling (unless added prior and then they will continue).
    • New tennis courts will be added to the athletic campus.
  • Facilities
    • The dining hall will be expanded.
    • An additional set of multi-stalled restrooms will be added near the rear of the school.
    • An additional classroom wing will be added.
  • Faculty
    • All existing teachers are being offered are turning job with raises and benefits.
    • Additional teachers will be hired to meet the needs of the students and the increased class offerings.