16 April 2021
Dear Parishioners of St. Paul Parish:
It is a pleasure to announce to you that Mrs. Jill (Behme) Conaway has been named the new principal of Saint Paul School, effective July 1, 2021. She succeeds Mrs. Fayne Molloy who, after serving as our principal for nine years (including an extra year beyond her original plan to help us through COVID), is retiring.
Mrs. Conaway is a Connecticut native having grown up in Wallingford and a graduate of Holy Trinity School. She is also a proud alumna of Mercy High School in Middletown. She received her BA in Elementary Education from Marquette University in Milwaukee and her MA in Elementary Education from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. Jill is married to her husband Robert and has three children aged 17 to 29 years old.
Mrs. Conaway taught at St. Rose School in Meriden before it closed. More recently she has served in administrative roles in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Madison in Wisconsin. She was the Admissions and Marketing Director for Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart for six years until 2006 and since then has served as the Associate Principal and Development Director of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School in Sun Prairie, WI. Sacred Hearts School was founded in 1892 and has in excess of 400 students in grades Pre K3 through 8.
As you know, a Principal Search Committee (PSC) was formed in January with Robert Ramsey serving as the Chairperson and included eight other members representing the various constituency groups of the school and parish. The committee began its process by constructing a survey that was sent to faculty, staff and parents. They then reviewed the applications that were received and making use of the results of the survey then conducted a first round of interviews with some of those applicants. Following a second round of interviews candidates were then advanced for interviews with members of the School Board and myself. The PSC and School Board then made a final recommendation to me.
Following a personal interview with Mrs. Conaway I was pleased to offer her the position that she has accepted. Mrs. Conaway has the personal experience of the benefits of a Catholic education straight through Graduate School. Her children have also been Catholic school educated. She brings with her a wealth of experience both as a classroom teacher and as an administrator. She has a deep appreciation of the values that have to exist in a Catholic School for it to be truly Catholic and will be able to personally give witness to those values. Likewise, her experience will help her to build on the strong academic and co‑curricular programs that St. Paul School offers and assist our dedicated faculty to excel in caring for all aspects of each student. Mr. Ramsey commented that, “Jill Conaway feels it's her duty as principal to bring everyone ‘into the fold’. She values communication with faculty, students and parents. She desires to work as a team for the benefit of all students, the parish, and the surrounding community as a whole.” In addition, her work in the areas of enrollment management, development, and budgeting will help ensure the school's future for generations to come.
While Mrs. Conaway finishes up at her current school and makes the necessary preparations to move to Connecticut she and Mrs. Molloy have already been in contact with each other. They will be working together to ensure a seamless transition over the next two months before Mrs. Conaway arrives at St. Paul School towards the end of June. St. Paul’s School, I believe, is truly blessed to have a person of Jill’s personal and professional qualifications as our next principal. Her dedication to her own faith and the role of a Catholic education will serve our students and their families very well. Her breadth of experience will likewise draw out what is best in our school and each student and also help us meet the ever new challenges that always lie ahead. I hope that you will find an opportunity come the Fall to meet Mrs. Conaway and continue your support of our school which is so integral to the future of the parish.
I am most grateful to the PSC for all of their time and work that has brought us to this moment. In the coming weeks we will be planning a farewell for Mrs. Molloy. I know you join me in thanking Mrs. Molloy for her tireless efforts on behalf of our school these last nine years and especially for her extra year of service this year. Let us lift up our hearts in prayer for Fayne, Jill and the entire St. Paul School family during this time of transition.
Peace and All Good,
Fr. Joseph Benicewicz, OFM Conv.