The parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin was established on the south bank of the St. John’s River in the autumn of 1913. The first Mass was offered in a rented store.The original Assumption School was constructed at the corner of Gary and Naldo Streets in 1923. This first school was quite small and accommodated 110 students. Classes were taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine.
In 1948, while Father James Cloonan was pastor of the parish, land was purchased on Atlantic Boulevard. The existing building on the property, which was formerly the Merrill-Stevens Shipyard Administration Building, was converted into a school. This new Assumption School opened in September 1949 with 317 students. It also operated under new leadership provided by the Sisters of St. Dominic from Adrian, Michigan.
In 1954 the Florida State Road Department acquired the property on Gary Street and in 1955 the present Assumption Catholic Church was built on property adjacent to the school. The growth of the parish and school continued and in 1958 the convent was constructed making space available for six additional classrooms.
In 1965 under the leadership of Monsignor Harold Jordan, the fifth through eighth grade classrooms were built along with the Parish Hall. These additional buildings allowed the school to convert the old auditorium into a library and media center.
Monsignor Eugene Kohls became the Pastor in 1977. During his time at Assumption, a new Activity Center was built freeing the Parish Hall for school use. A preschool for three and four year olds was implemented and in 1996 the original school building was completely renovated and updated.
Father Fred Parke became Pastor of Assumption in 2002. He came to Assumption from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Palm Coast. Father Parke began the Heritage and Horizons building campaign shortly after coming to Assumption.
The Florida Catholic Conference first accredited Assumption in 1973 as one of the original schools to receive accreditation. The school has maintained this accreditation status up to the present day.
The Assumption faculty and administration has also changed dramatically since the school started. In the early years of Assumption from 1923-1969, the principal and teachers were primarily nuns. Sister Patricia Eileen Consier was the last principal who was a nun. Since 1977 the principal has been a lay Catholic. Today the teaching staff and principal are all lay Catholics.
Mrs. Maryann Jimenez is the principal of Assumption Catholic School. She began her years in Catholic education by attending first Assumption Catholic School and then San Jose Catholic School. After graduating from Bishop Kenny High School she headed off to Florida State University. Wanting to complete internships in the city she would eventually teach in, Maryann transferred to the University of North Florida her senior year. As a summa cum laude graduate, Mrs. Jimenez began her teaching career in Duval County Public School. After working for three years at Richard L. Brown Elementary Mrs. Jimenez began teaching 3rd grade at Assumption in 2010. It was during this time that she began work towards her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership through Saint Leo University graduating in December of 2014. During her degree completion, Mrs. Jimenez began serving as one of Assumption’s Assistant Principals in 2013 and when the vacancy came for principalship, teachers and parents supported her promotion. After a year of mentorship under a veteran principal, Mrs. Jimenez took the reins as principal of Assumption Catholic School.
In the fall of 2006 Assumption was blessed with four Sisters from the Home of the Mother. Although they are not a “teaching order”, they do add a special dimension to our faith formation and spirituality. They visit the classrooms each week and have added two days of retreat and recollection to our school year. They help ensure Christ is the center of every aspect of education, religious formation, growth and character development. As part of Assumption’s mission the school strives to ground students in the principles of the Gospel: peace, brotherhood, love, patience and respect of others. These virtues are practiced and modeled by members of the school community every day.
Assumption is one of the oldest parochial schools in Jacksonville. The Assumption community looks forward to the future knowing that the school has been built on a solid foundation with principles and values that remain unchanged in an ever increasing, changing society.