St. John Catholic School has a long time history in the River Valley. Fr. Rudolph Maus started the school in 1947 as St. Augustine Catholic School in Dardanelle. He was the resident pastor for both parishes in Dardanelle and the St. John Parish in 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 the children that attended the school were children of Bohemian immigrants. Since 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, a former teacher of our school, was one of the students Father Maus transported. With an increase in enrollment, St. Augustine soon became too small to accommodate the number 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 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.