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Our History & Identity

The first Catholic School in Fargo opened on July 26, 1882 under the auspices of the Presentation Sisters from Ireland. The sisters opened a high school, Sacred Heart Academy, on September 8, 1897. Sacred Heart Academy became Shanley High School with the 1950-51 school year. Parish elementary schools staffed largely by the Presentation Sisters operated at St. Mary's Cathedral, St. Anthony's Parish, Holy Spirit Parish, and Nativity Parsih with K-8 configurations. In 1987 the "Fargo Catholic Schools Network" was established as a collaborative system of schools. Later, a middle school configuration (grades 6-8) was adopted, which eventually became Sacred Heart Middle School. Holy Spirit School and Nativity School continued as elementary schools. Trinity Elementary School opened in the 2015-16 school year in West Fargo.
We became "Bl. John Paul II Catholic Schools" from the previous "Fargo Catholic Schools Network" name shortly after the Pope John Paul II's beatification on Divine Mercy Sunday (May 1, 2011). Then Bishop Samuel Aquila wrote "Knowing Bl. John Paul II's love for youth and Catholic education, we place our Catholic schools, youth, faculty, and administration under his patronage and intercession" (Pastoral Letter, May 3, 2011). We became "St. John Paul II Catholic Schools" shortly after Pope John Paul II's canonization (April 27, 2014).
Today we are a system of five Catholic Schools: Holy Spirit Elementary School, Nativity Elementary School, Trinity Elementary School, Sacred Heart Middle School, and Shanley High School. Eight sponsoring parishes provide oversight and support for our schools: Blessed Sacrament Parish (West Fargo), Holy Cross Parish (West Fargo), Holy Spirit Parish (Fargo), Nativity Parish (Fargo), Sts. Anne and Joachim Parish (Fargo), St. Anthony's Parish (Fargo), St. Benedict's Parish (Wild Rice), and St. Mary's Cathedral Parish (Fargo).

Our Patron Saint, St. John Paul II

Son of Poland and patron of World Youth Day, Saint John Paul II was Pope for 26 years. Born Karol Wojtyla in the town of Wadowice, not far from Krakow, he came of age during the Nazi occupation of Poland, eventually becoming a priest (and ordained in secret in the palace of the Archbishop of Krakow). After WWII, Fr. Wojtyla became known for his work with young adults, despite Communist oppression, and soon became a bishop, then archbishop, and cardinal in the 1950s and 1960s. He was an active participant in the Second Vatican Council and was elected pope in October 1978. As pope, he traveled more and met more people than any of his predecessors in the Chair of Peter. In 1984, he inaugurated an annual gathering of youth and young adults – which would become World Youth Day. He died in April 2005, and was canonized (alongside Pope John XXIII) in Rome in April 2014. He is the father and patron saint of World Youth Day.


St. John Paul II, whose feast day we celebrate on October 22, was a tremendous advocate of young people. Under his papacy the first World Youth Day was celebrated in 1986. He often spoke directly and lovingly to youth in his letters and talks, urging them to give their lives to God and to never give up hope. In his address to the youth at World Youth Day in France, 1997 he said: “remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’!”

Who We Are

JPII Catholic Schools is comprised of people who have developed a strong sense of family, whose foundation is in the Catholic Church. JPII Catholic Schools strives to provide the opportunity to develop life skills based on values, faith, and acceptance of self, and service to others as exemplified by Jesus Christ.

What We Do

In following the leadership of Jesus Christ, we seek to teach the message of hope contained in the Gospel. We envision that our children will be empowered to value the dignity of each person. Through our commitment to Catholic Education, we recognize the opportunities to grow in faith, foster a sense of ministry, and to advance a just and caring society.

Our Staff

JPII Catholic Schools employs over 100 people consisting of teachers, support staff, administrators and administrative associates. Not included in these figures are our coaches and substitute teachers.


  • Mr. Mike Hagstrom, President
  • Mrs. Mary Beth Traynor, Vice President
  • Fr. Kyle Metzger, Principal-Shanley High School
  • Mr. Leon Knodel, Principal-Sacred Heart Middle School
  • Mr. Christopher Dalton, Principal-Nativity Elementary School
  • Mr. Jason Kotrba, Principal-Holy Spirit Elementary School
  • Mrs. Karissa Flieth, Principal-Trinity Elementary School
  • Mr. Reggie Jackson, Activities Director
  • Ms. Lori Hager, Director of Admissions
  • Mrs. Stacy Roney, Director of Finance
  • Mr. John Klocke, Director of Advancement
  • Ms. Heidi Risner-Rolon, Executive Administrative Assistant

Our Parishes

Our Schools

St. John Paul II Catholic School system encompasses five schools in the metro area. There are three elementary school campuses, one middle school, and one high school. The enrollment is approximately 1200 students within our system.

Holy Spirit Elementary School

3yrs – Grade 5

1441 8th St. N, Fargo

Nativity Elementary School

PreK – Grade 5

1825 11th St. S, Fargo

Trinity Elementary School

PreK – Grade 5

2811 7th St. E, West Fargo

Sacred Heart Middle School

Grade 6 – Grade 8

5600 25th St. S, Fargo

Shanley High School

Grade 9 – Grade 12

5600 25th St. S, Fargo