Presidential Search

“The greatest challenge to Catholic education in the United States today…is to restore to that culture the conviction that human beings can grasp the truth of things, and in grasping that truth can know their duties to God, to themselves and their neighbors.”


The Board of Directors has engaged search consultants Partners in Mission, the nation’s leading full-service consulting firm focused exclusively on developing excellence in Catholic school advancement and leadership. A Search Committee is being formed to find a leader who is aligned with JPII’s mission, core values and who will help our school community continue to walk in the footsteps of St. John Paul II and develop into critical thinkers, effective communicators, servant leaders, that are rooted in faith.

Expected Timeline of the Search

John Paul II High School Presidential Search Timeline

Letters to the Community

May 30, 2023

Dear John Paul II Community:

The Board of Directors is pleased to make several important announcements to the John Paul II community.

First, the Board has contracted with Partners in Mission to assist in and lead the search for a new President for our school. You can access the Partners in Mission website here:

A prerequisite for a successful search is alignment on our vision as a community for our school.1 The first phase of the search will consist of soliciting input from parents, students, faculty, and other stakeholders regarding the vision for JPII and that feedback will be incorporated in the search for our new President.

The JPII community can provide their thoughts, issues, and areas of concern through a variety of means. The first is via an online survey, which can be found here: In addition to the online survey, when school begins again, Partners in Mission will schedule in-person meetings with the various members of our community including parents, students, and alumni. The opportunities for in-person meetings will be announced on the school website, which will also provide regular updates and announcements concerning the search. That web page can be found here:

Second, the Board has identified an individual to serve as Interim President while the search for a new President is conducted. We are not yet at liberty to introduce the Interim President as certain legal requirements are being finalized. We can, however, reveal that the Interim President has successfully spent over four decades in Catholic education including nearly two decades as a president of a Catholic high school. The interim has taught theology, worked in admissions and development and then was a principal and Vice-President for Mission. We hope to introduce you to our Interim President very soon.

In choosing an Interim President, the Board and the Diocese identified a comprehensive list of requirements. Three of the “must haves” among this list included the following: (1) a record of successful achievement as a president of a Catholic high school; (2) an individual who can provide the leadership needed for this time;2 and (3) someone who will not be a candidate for appointment as the permanent President. This last requirement was the recommendation of all the search firms considered and is best practice regarding executive searches. The reason is simple. An individual serving as Interim President who is also a candidate sends the wrong message to potential candidates. That message is that the interim has the inside track for appointment and that the Board is not truly casting the broadest possible net in its search for a President.

To conduct successful parallel searches for both a search firm and an Interim President over the past several weeks necessitated a great deal of confidentiality. The process for both efforts included extensive interviews, due diligence, and compliance with various legal requirements. We recognize, and as a Board also experienced, the frustration this confidentiality may have caused.

Finally, our Safety Manager will be sending his initial communication to the JPII community this week. This is the first in what will be regular communication regarding our ongoing efforts to provide safety and security for our students, teachers, and staff.

We wish to thank the John Paul II community for your patience and understanding during these past weeks. We also want to publicly express our gratitude for the leadership and support of Bishop Burns. Bishop Burns’s dedication and commitment to the success of JPII cannot be overstated.

As we move forward together as a community, let us not lose sight of our mission. That mission is the education of both the hearts and the minds of our students to prepare them to be both useful citizens and citizens of heaven. Let us, therefore, always be mindful of and commit ourselves as a community to the words of our patron, St. John Paul II:

“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put into the deep and let down your nets for the catch. . . . never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”

Respectfully yours,

John Paul II High School Board of Directors

1"When there is no vision, the people will perish.” Proverbs 29.
2“Leaders are not born. They are made. And they are made like anything else, through hard work.” Vince Lombardi.
3Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

[View pdf version of the letter]

Hello Cardinal Family!

I'm Karl Ertle, and I am honored to accept the position of service as John Paul II High School's President in this poignant time and at a school that some have called the most community and family oriented in the Diocese of Dallas.

I FELT A CALLING TO SERVE when I heard that John Paul II High School is affectionately known as the Cardinal Family community. I have connected with your board members through my personal and professional networks, and they welcomed me to campus. My initial reaction to visiting your beautiful campus and meeting people in the community is nothing short of impressed, inspired, and involved. I had the pleasure of speaking to a few students during my tour, and they were incredibly bright, gracious, and filled with a love for JPII and held hope for their futures. A hope that I, too, carry. I carry their joy to support them in achieving their dreams. This hope extends to many faculty, staff, and other stakeholders throughout the campus and Cardinal Family. They all note that the school and its students are poised for excellence, growth, and a future that shines brightly forward.

All of what I heard, saw, and felt are the spirit of John Paul II High School: the heart is its community, the focus is making a better future, and a soul roused to serve through faith and acts—all of which align with the essential parts of my personal and professional life. I am an achiever and believer in family, religion, and making a difference through education. As a product of Catholic education from childhood through adulthood, I hold the same foundational values as JPII in its mission and vision. Through my Catholic education, I have become a critical-thinking, effective communicating, service-oriented Catholic leader.

In over three decades in Catholic education, I first learned as a teacher of Freshman Religion and Sophomore Service Director and later as a Theology teacher to imbue students and communities with skills that would allow them to use their gifts in service to others. I, too, took that to heart and began coaching to empower their God-given talents and educate them with cura personalis, "the care for the development of the whole person."

I was called to my next challenge to serve in various administrative positions, starting with a role in identifying, recruiting, and retaining remarkable students through work as a Director of Admissions, Public Relations, and Financial Aid–which saw great success with 15% growth in enrollment, becoming the largest all-boys Catholic HS in Ohio. I was able to segue that into my work as an Assistant Principal for Student Services where we managed a budget of $3.5M with programming in student life, athletics, coaching formation, and financial aid and tutoring. The opportunity from these roles had me called to higher pursuits, as I am always striving for excellence and better for those I serve, I was afforded the opportunity to lead as Vice President for Ignatian Mission, a first-of-its-kind role in the Jesuit Schools Network. During that time, I oversaw a $15M budget, and 150 staff members, and directed new initiatives that brought catechesis and the Spiritual Exercises alive.

After three years implementing unique programs as a VP, I began the zenith of my leadership, serving for almost 20 years as President of two Catholic high schools.

As a president, my work has always started with empathy, connectedness, and adaptability, which has led to some remarkable achievements like increasing enrollments to historic levels (84% during a six-year run and a 15% growth of students of color), growing endowments in multi-million dollar figures (a new record of $23.5M), which allowed for school additions and better faculty/staff contracts, retired debt of $3.26M–which increased cash reserve, building partnerships in community-city relations that supported student pursuits–which created a first of its kind stadium and track in Ohio, obtaining grant and gift funds in the millions that enhanced religious, educational, athletic, and community opportunities, among so much more.

My Cleveland, Midwest/East Coast hard work, scrappiness, and strength of mind and character inspire my successes and experiences. While I am certainly jealous of your Dallas area sports successes, I also know that you all share the same work ethic, resilience, and hunt for industry and innovation that was imbued to me from my background. Additionally, I am only possible with my family. My beautiful and supportive wife of 35 years, Carol, and our six adult children, Tim, Kate, Mary, Annie, Danny, and Joe—all are my reason for being, my inspiration for today, and my hope for the future.

I am proud to welcome my family into the John Paul II High School community.

Bishop Burns and Bishop Kelly were also gracious, warm, and inviting as I spoke with them, discussing the opportunities to work alongside them and their staff this year. They believe in the hope of John Paul II High School's future alongside that of the Board.

As I engage in the work as JPII President this academic year, the Board, Leadership Team, and I have discussed our priorities for capitalizing on what we have now to improve our next.

Working alongside your Principal, Kayla Brown, and the Leadership Team, I am asked to target three things:

     1. Serve as a leader and work with the outstanding faculty and staff at JPII to advance the mission.

    2. Work with the Leadership Team and the Board to establish the direction for this academic year.

    3. Lay the groundwork for a full-time successor and help onboard the next President.

With those priorities in mind, I am inspired by the spirit of Saint John Paul II's story of being a light-bearer. His life was sometimes less luminous than his papacy. However, he radiated the fatherhood of God's light. He brought with him always what St. Paul calls "the newness of life in Christ" (Cf. Rom. 6:4). That is the promise of John Paul II High School as well, that through these priorities and work in our purpose, we will reach our potential, not through fear of the future, which can darken our existence, but as Pope John Paul II said, "…let yourselves be taken over by the light of Christ and spread that light wherever you are." I look to spreading that light as your President and passing the flame as we move forward.

May we work together for the greater glory of God. May God bless you and your family and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your community and for letting me join your efforts in this special Catholic mission in Plano. I look forward to meeting you at a school event soon!

Go Cardinals!

Dear John Paul II Community,

I am pleased to provide you with an update on the search process to identify and secure our next President. As we shared in the May 30th communique, in our effort to secure the best and brightest candidates from near and far, we have retained Partners in Mission School Leadership Search Solutions ( to serve as our search counsel. Partners in Mission ( is a nationally recognized full-service consulting firm focused exclusively on delivering excellence in Catholic school leadership, advancement, and enrollment management.

Kyle Pietrantonio will be our principal search consultant for the President search. Next week on August 22 and 23, Kyle will visit campus and meet with focus groups of students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, board, and administrative leaders. Enriched with these many perspectives and working jointly with our Search Committee, Partners in Mission will develop a detailed Search Prospectus which highlights our exciting leadership opportunity.

As the search progresses, the Partners in Mission team will be working with a wide range of individuals within their extensive network of mission-driven Catholic leaders from across the nation. Their search efforts will focus on prospective candidates most familiar with our charism and competitive market, gradually expanding their extensive outreach initiatives throughout the United States to recruit only the most personally, professionally, and culturally fit leaders. Ultimately, they will develop a vetted list of top candidates for our Search Committee’s consideration in late Fall. The Search Committee will meet shortly thereafter narrowing this pool to a list of semi-finalists that they will interview.

This select group will be interviewed only by the Search Committee in order to preserve candidates’ confidentiality. Confidentiality throughout this process is standard practice when conducting a leadership search.

After semi-finalist interviews, the finalists (typically two or three) will be selected by the Search Committee. The finalists (and spouses, if applicable) will have the opportunity to return to the John Paul II community in December for individual day-long visits. The Search Committee will meet again shortly after the last finalist’s visit to review all the information gathered throughout the process, which will include feedback received from members of the John Paul II community who have had an opportunity to engage with all finalists. At the conclusion of this process, the Search Committee will present their recommendations to the Board of Directors.

The search calendar that we established remains on track. We anticipate that we will secure John Paul II’s next President by early 2024, with a start date in early July. Keep in mind that the retained search function is a dynamic, fluid, and competitive process. Should top candidates emerge ahead of our anticipated schedule, we maintain the ability to adjust these timelines and remain best-positioned to secure the most ideal candidates currently available.

In the coming weeks, please watch for additional communications and follow progress on the John Paul II High School website, "Presidential Search" page (, detailing the progress of our search efforts. In the interim, if you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. I remain grateful to all of you for your insights as the search moves forward, and I am confident that this process will identify the most ideal candidate able to continue and enhance the outstanding traditions we have come to expect at John Paul II.


David Bender
Search Committee, Chair
Board of Directors, Chair

Presidential Search FAQ

The President Search Committee is composed of faculty, staff, parents, community members, and board members. The Board of Directors has the sole responsibility for hiring John Paul II High School’s next President. The Board has appointed a Search Committee to lead the process and ultimately recommend a presidential candidate to the Board of Directors. In addition, the Board has engaged Partners in Mission, a nationally recognized search firm, to serve as a consultant to the Search Committee. The Search Committee will also seek feedback from the community-at-large to inform its decision-making.

The Search Committee is responsible for leading the search for John Paul II High School’s next President with guidance and support from Partners in Mission search firm.

The Search Committee will review candidate applications vetted by Partners in Mission and conduct interviews with semifinalists and finalists. The Search Committee will coordinate opportunities for the community to meet the leading candidates and then review feedback, references, and background checks before submitting a recommendation for the President to the Board of Directors.

The Committee will ensure that the search process is thorough, fair, transparent, and inclusive. A key role of the Search Committee is to keep the John Paul II High School community informed and engaged throughout the search process while respecting the confidentiality of the candidate recruitment process.

Members of the Board will vote to approve the recommendation made by the Search Committee. Once the recommendation is approved, the Board will extend an offer to the candidate.

The John Paul II High School community is being invited to participate in a survey designed by Partners in Mission. The survey will allow all constituents to share input about JPII HS and the search process. In addition, when school begins again, Partners in Mission will schedule in-person meetings with the various members of our community including parents, students, and alumni. The community is encouraged to stay engaged in the process by following updates sent from the Search Committee and posted to the JPII website. Once the finalists have been announced, faculty, students, parents/guardians, and alumni will be invited to open meetings with each of the candidates. Feedback following these open meetings will be used to inform the Search Committee.

No. Our faculty and administrators remain committed to fulfilling JPII’s Mission and providing students with an excellent educational experience that will serve them well long after they leave our campus.

Kyle Pietrantonio, Partner
Partners in Mission School Leadership Search Solutions, LLC
8 Nicklaus Way | Mashpee, MA 02649
202-390-0230 (Cell)

Search Firm

Partners in Mission School Leadership Search Solutions is the retained search division of Partners in Mission, the nation’s leading full-service consulting firm focused exclusively on developing excellence in Catholic school advancement and leadership. As partners among ourselves and with our clients’ missions, we value, understand, and embrace the importance of Catholic education in our personal and professional lives — and remain committed to ensuring its strength and vitality for years to come. Engaged by religious and school communities, boards and dioceses, our team of dedicated search consultants have identified and secured mission-driven professionals to serve in a myriad of diverse Catholic school and diocesan leadership positions from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

This requires several steps:

This must be conducted in person at JPIIHS after above steps have been completed. An appointment can be scheduled by contacting Bill Symon. The following are the policies for which acknowledgement is required:

Helpful Links:

Report Suspected Abuse

TX Dept. of Family and Protective Services
(800) 252-5400 (if an emergency call 911)


Contact at the Diocese of Dallas

Diocesan Director of Safe Environment

(214) 379-2812

Contact at JPIIHS

Rounded Corners Catholic School John Paul II High School Faculty and Staff

Director of Human Resources

(469) 229-5103