About Us

Our History

Founded in 2009 by three families, JPII started in a pole barn with seven students from five families.  Since then we have grown to 150 students and now call St. Robert Bellarmine home.

Establishing the High School

In 2009, Gateway Academy, an independent private Catholic school in Chesterfield, MO, closed the doors to its high school after 17 years of operation due to financial instability. Shortly thereafter, three lay families made the decision to start a small independent Catholic school with a three-day model.

The idea was presented by Joe and Jessica Zuniga, who had seen this model in a city where they previously lived. After much research and consultation with the President of the National Association of University Model Schools (NAUMS), the Zunigas presented a viable option to the community of Gateway Academy. The idea was to use the three-day model with a Catholic curriculum in order to provide authentic Catholic education at an affordable price.

The Zunigas, along with two other couples, formed the founding board for St. John Paul II Preparatory School.  Each member of the founding board assumed duties in establishing the school. These founding members were seeking a school that not only provided sound Catholic education, but teachers who promised to adhere to the teachings of the Catholic faith as taught by the Magisterium of the Church.

Furthermore, they sought to develop a community that shared these values and wished to live a Catholic culture that did not compromise Catholic values.  The board members sought advice and direction from NAPCIS as well as Kolbe Academy; their guidance helped to establish a school that provided a strong academic program as well as solid spiritual formation.

Saint John Paul II Preparatory School was incorporated in the Summer of 2009, and by-laws were established. JPII opened its doors in August of 2009 with 7 high school students.  Jessica Zuniga assumed the role of Principal and remained in that position until 2014.

Establishing the Grade School and History of Headship
               In 2011, Gateway Academy closed its grade school.  Many families came to the Board of Directors requesting that JPII consider adding an elementary school.  In the fall of 2011, the Board of Directors voted to add grades PK–8.  As the enrollment grew to 140, the members of the Board hired David Williams as Principal and appointed Jessica Zuniga to serve as President of the school.  David Williams acted as Principal from July 2014 to June 2017.

St. Louis Archbishop, Robert J. Carlson, requested JPII to become formally recognized as a Catholic school by erecting a Public Association of the Christian Faithful.  On September 21, 2015, Saint John Paul II Preparatory School was formally recognized as a Public Association of the Christian Faithful (PACF), an official work of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

In July of 2017, the Board hired Mrs. Lynette Schmitz who currently serves as Principal, the third in the school’s history.  

Our Mission

St. John Paul II Preparatory School provides students with excellence in education, both academically and spiritually, to prepare them to become faith-filled adults who will live and defend the Catholic faith with confidence and joy.

Pillars of JPII Mission and Vision
1. Authentically Catholic, aligned with the Magisterium
2. Rigorous classical curriculum pursues truth, goodness, and beauty
3.  Hybrid model includes 3 at-school and 2 at-home days each week
4. School culture that collaborates with and supports the domestic
      church of the family
Over-Arching Goals for Every Student 
1.  To provide an outstanding education through a partnership between teachers and parents in the formation of students’ education, faith and character
2.  To develop creative minds by teaching students how to think critically and how to learn,  ultimately to maintain a lifelong love of learning
3.  To teach God’s Commandments and instill in the students a strong devotion to Jesus Christ
4.  To help students develop a personal prayer life with Christ, a devotion to His BlessedMother, and a love of the Catholic Faith
5.   To impart the charism of St. John Paul II and the students’ role in the New Evangelization
6.   To recognize the dignity and worth of each student and to appreciate individual differences
7.   To instill in students an awareness of their responsibility to respond to the needs of others through apostolic and service projects
8.   To teach the virtues and instill in students the importance of self-respect as well as love and respect for others