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Helias principal appointed interim superintendent for Catholic schools; national search underway for new superintendent

JEFFERSON CITY — Bishop Shawn McKnight, bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, has appointed Ms. Kenya Fuemmeler as interim superintendent of Catholic schools, effective July 1. The appointment is for up to one year, as the Diocese begins a national search for a superintendent of schools.

“Ms. Fuemmeler’s strong Catholic faith, her experience as principal of Helias High School and in other school systems, as well as the fact that she is a product of our own Catholic school system, will provide us with the right leadership for this transition,” Bishop McKnight said when making the announcement.

Fuemmeler will continue to serve as principal at Helias in this interim period. “We are very grateful for her willingness to take on this additional, interim responsibility, and to the Helias community for its ability to share its leadership for the greater good of the Diocese,” Bishop McKnight said. “Together, we will be able to build a better future for our children.”

Msgr. Robert Kurwicki, diocesan vicar general, will lead a search committee in the national search for a new superintendent. With other members to be announced, the committee will include diocesan Director of Human Resources Ms. Cheryl Hertfelder; Father Michael Quinn, pastor of Holy Family in Hannibal; Ms. Debbie Reinkemeyer, principal of Holy Family School in Freeburg and Sacred Heart School in Rich Fountain; and Mr. Aaron Vitt of St. Piux X Parish in Moberly. An executive search firm has been hired to assist in the national search.

“This process is based on the results and recommendations of an in-depth study by consultants with deep experience in Catholic education,” Bishop McKnight explained. “It is an important step forward in our commitment to high-quality Catholic education for our children.”

Fuemmeler has been principal of Helias Catholic High School since 2015. Prior to that, she had served as an assistant principal at Moberly High School. She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri in Columbia. She is a product of Catholic school education, having also attended St. Joseph elementary school in Salisbury. She is a member of St. Peter Parish in Jefferson City.

“I look forward to assisting Bishop McKnight and our Catholic community in taking our Catholic schools to the next level of excellence, bringing to our students and their families an experience of quality academic and spiritual formation,” Fuemmeler said. “I am eager to build on the good foundation built by the current administration of the diocesan Catholic Schools Office, Sister Elizabeth Youngs, SCL, and Sr. Julie Brandt, SSND.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve as associate superintendent these past four years,” Sister Brandt said. “It has been my privilege to support our principals and pastors in their leadership as they strive to provide a quality Catholic education to the students in each of our schools.”

The Diocese of Jefferson City includes 38 counties in central and northeastern Missouri. Approximately 82,000 Catholics live in the Diocese, worshipping and serving in 114 parishes. It includes three high schools and 37 elementary schools, with a total enrollment of approximately 7,000 students.