On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, I, Mckenzy Schumer, had the opportunity to sit down and interview Helias Catholic High School’s new principal Ms. Kenya Fuemmeler. Fuemmeler discussed her past work experience, her experience at Helias so far, and her vision for Helias’ future.
Fuemmeler is ready to get behind her students and teachers and make Helias the best it can be.
How did you feel when you found out that you were going to be the new principal at Helias?
“Ecstatic and a little scared all at the same time. It’s an awesome responsibility to be in charge of 700 students, and you know, 50 faculty members every day. So with that responsibility, I hope I can do God’s will and make our school the best it can be.”
How has your transition from public to private school been?
“Interesting. My mom is a K-8 Catholic school principal making the transition from public to private school as well. And so, some of the nuances are just a little different. For example, the difference between a school board and an advisory council are different. But ultimately, kids are kids, so, it doesn’t matter where kids go to school we want great things for all kids. And, that’s the same thing here in Jefferson city. Now, I’m lucky enough to be a Helias Crusader.”
What skill do you have, that you believe makes you a better principal?
“I would say compassion. I have compassion for teachers and students. It’s easy to think a school should be run a certain way, and yet, we all have unique talents and abilities. And, I really try to draw upon everyone’s unique talents and abilities to make our school the best it can be. There is no one perfect right way, so to be compassionate to students and teachers is really important.”
What things do you believe need to change to make Helias better?
“I think critical thinking is really critical for our students. The world is changing faster than we are. Also, making sure that students aren’t just memorizing facts but are really able to analyze what those facts mean and what information is being provided. To help us to continue to grow. And once again, to not accept our status quo as ever being okay. And to always work towards being better every day.”
How do you describe your leadership style?
“Definitely servant leadership. I believe in serving others. And, I believe as a school leader, I need to serve teachers and students. Because ultimately, I have one job and that is to help teachers help kids. So, you can’t do that if you’re not willing to serve others.”
How does Helias deal with students that come here and are of a different religion than Catholic? And, How does Helias deal with no religious students?
“I think one of the things we want every kid to know is God loves you. And, God loves all kids. So if God loves all kids, our ability to impact students is tremendous. I just want those students to know, even though you’re struggling, God is still there and he will always be there. It’s our job to help students find that path and it’s not always easy, but, that’s why God gives us others to help us along the way.”
What ways do you hope to stay involved with Helias students?
“I think it’s really important to be visible and active, and to know what are students are up to at all times. For me, just being present in classrooms, being present at lunch, and being present at activities. All of those things are really important to me.”
Miss Fuemmeler has two weeks of school finished and 38 more to go. She will have a busy week coming up this month with homecoming week.