Catholic schools have been in existence in Joplin since 1885 when twelve Sisters of Mercy came to Joplin from Louisville, Kentucky and started a school in the Edward Zelleken home, also the convent on 9th and Pearl Avenue. This building functioned as the Catholic school in Joplin until the construction of St. Peter’s Grade School in 1924 on 8th and Byers Avenue.
In 1948, St. Peter’s Catholic High School (now McAuley Catholic High School) was built adjacent to the Zelleken home on 10th and Pearl Avenue. St. Mary Catholic Church built a parish school on 25th and Moffet in 1958 which was run by the Daughters of Charity, Leavenworth until 1972.
At that time, the decision was made to make a consolidated school system with St. Mary’s serving as the kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school, St. Peter’s as the sixth through eighth grades middle school and McAuley educating ninth through twelfth grades. While the Sisters of Mercy remained in administrative and teaching positions in the schools, all responsibilities of the schools were given to the area parishes, Sacred Heart, St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s and governed by a school board. The three schools continued to function in this capacity with the addition of a preschool program and construction additions to both St. Mary’s and McAuley over the years.
In May 2011, a tornado devastated the St. Mary’s campus which led to the relocation at a temporary school at 10th and Byers Avenue for three years on the campus of McAuley.
In the fall of 2015, St. Mary’s opened their new school for preschool through fifth grades on 32nd Street and Central City Road and St. Peter’s Middle School relocated to the temporary campus of St. Mary’s in order to be closer to the high school and better accommodate students for the 21st century.
Georgiana L. McGriff took over as the Director of Schools for the Joplin Area Catholic Schools in July 2016.
St. Mary's Elementary School
3025 South Central City Road
Joplin, MO 64804
St. Peter's Middle School
931 South Byers Avenue
Joplin, MO 64801
McAuley Catholic High School
930 South Pearl Avenue
Joplin, MO 64801