Dear St. John Paul II Families,


I am very excited to be the interim principal for St. John Paul II Catholic High School and look forward to the 2018 -2019 school year.  I received a Catholic education and believe passionately in the benefits a Catholic education can provide. I attended high school in Tampa, Florida at the Academy of the Holy Names, and was blessed to receive my bachelors in education from Spring Hill College, a Jesuit college in Mobile Alabama.  I am finishing my academic career with a master’s in Education Leadership from St. Leo College. Professionally, I have spent 15 years in Catholic education as an educator, the last few years in administrative roles at our sister school, Trinity Catholic School. Personally, I care deeply for our school.  I have been a part of the St. John Paul II family as a parent since 2011 and have witnessed the many wonderful accomplishments that have happened at this school over the years.


The first Sunday after I was appointed by Bishop Wack and Superintendent Juhas, the gospel reading was the parable of the sower:


A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear. (Matt. 13: 1-9)


The gospel and, and Father Cayer’s homily at St. Thomas More, were so appropriate given the new journey we are beginning at St. John Paul II Catholic High School.  Like the seed that is brimming with potential, our students also possess great potential but they also need rich environment to grow. We must be the fertile soil that allows our students to encounter the word of God and understand it so they can grow and prosper.  I am excited to team with you, the new leadership team, and the returning and new faculty, to provide the highest quality of Catholic education and foster an overall environment that allows each student to grow in mind, body and spirit.


We are blessed to have Fr. Tom Dillon as our new chaplain to guide the faculty and students spiritually.  Fr. Tom is committed to enhancing the school’s Catholic Identity to craft an engaging, unitive, and meaningful environment for the students to receive and practice the skills of Christian discipleship.  Along with teaching theology, strengthening our theology curriculum, and guiding our spiritual formation, Fr. Tom will be celebrating our weekly student Mass on Wednesday mornings and will continue the Sunday Mass in the Chapel at 10:00 A.M.  We invite everyone to come join Fr. Tom and the St. John Paul II community at these masses.

We are also very fortunate to have Dr. Michael McCarron as our Advisor for Advancement and Outreach.  Dr. McCarron, who is the former Executive Director of Catholic Conference, is well respected in the Catholic community and was on our school’s founding committee, inaugural

school board, and the chair of first school advisory council when we opened in 2001.  Dr. McCarron will establish and nurture positive and productive relationships with the faculty, students, families and supporters of St. John Paul II Catholic High School.

Our administrative team also includes returning faculty well known to JPII families – some in new and important positions. Mrs. Emily Serpico will be Dean of Academics, focusing on curriculum, teacher development and academic excellence.   Mrs. Jan Russo will return as Dean of Students, focusing on student behavior and conduct. Patricia Young will be our Athletic and Student Activities Director, focusing on strengthening and developing extracurricular programs to provide our students with opportunities for advancement outside of the classroom.

Together, the administrative team will help provide a safe environment where students can strive for academic excellence and develop their leadership capabilities and athletic abilities. I am confident that with this faculty who believe in our mission, our students will thrive in a Christ-centered Catholic environment this coming school year.


I look forward to  welcoming students the first day of school in August and cannot wait to see all of the great things they will accomplish.  I hope to see all of you on campus at our school activities, athletic events and at our weekly Masses.

Please feel free to e-mail me with questions, comments, or concerns. I can be reached at or by calling the school at (850) 201-5744.  I believe open communication is the best tool to help us work together as partners for your child’s success.


St. John Paul II Pray for us!

Joanna Copenhaver

Interim Principal