St. John Catholic School has a long time history in the River Valley. It began in Dardanelle in 1947 as St. Augustine Catholic School by Father Rudolph Maus. He was the resident pastor for both parishes in Dardanelle and Russellville. He renovated and purchased a near-by house, which was converted into a convent and a school. He also requested and received Benedictine Sisters from St. Scholastica Convent in Fort Smith to staff the school in 1947-48. The first teachers were Sister Francis Teresa Adams, Sister Jeanette Yaeger, and Sister Pierre Vorster.
Many of them children of Bohemian immigrants, the children that attended the school at the time numbered less than twenty. Father Maus also recruited children from St. John Parish in Russellville. The first year, Father Maus transported seven to eight children to and from St. Augustine School himself. The enrollment for the first two years in grades 1 through 8 was less than thirty.
By 1955, more than thirty-six children were being transported from Russellville to St. Augustine. Mrs. Junior Bailey Vega, one of the current teachers, was one of the students Father Maus transported. With an increase in enrollment, St. Augustine soon became too small to accommodate the amount of students enrolled. Since the majority of students came from rapidly growing Russellville, Father Thomas Reynolds, then pastor of both St. John and St. Augustine, suggested building a school, rectory, and convent adjoining St. John Catholic Church in Russellville.
Bishop Albert L. Fletcher met with Father Reynolds and the parishioners of both parishes. As a result of this meeting, St. Augustine’s School in Dardanelle was relocated and renamed St John Catholic School as part of the St. John Parish in the fall of 1956. It has remained in the same facility with several additions and modifications over the years.