Sitting Down with BHS’ New Principal: Lauren McBride Talks Goals, Plans, and More


BHS Principal Lauren McBride

Julia Keeton, Staff Writer

Why did you want to become involved in education?

“I grew up in a house that was filled with education: that [was] constantly talking about education and the value of education. Some of my fondest memories are being in my mom’s third-grade classroom. I used to go when I was little and help her set up. … I just found it to be a place [where] I felt very happy and just connected to. When people ask me, ‘Who is your favorite teacher?’ I always say, ‘My mom,’ because I feel like my mom is so pivotal in my transition into education.”

What do you value about education?

“I think my biggest thing was to provide students the ability to access knowledge and to see them get excited about it. What my internal intrinsic drive is, is like, ‘here’s this really cool thing. How can we explore this together? And how can I help you to see or to think differently about this?’”

Before assuming the interim principal position in January, did you have any desire to become principal?

“I figured eventually, at some point in my career, I would be looking to assume a role of principal in a school of my own one day…. but it wasn’t in the immediate future because I really loved being here at BHS and felt strongly about the work that I was doing here.”

What do you love about BHS?

“I think one of the things that attracted myself and my family to this place was just the openness and the diversity of Burlington…. Some of the things that I love about this community is that people care about each other. Our faculty and staff have really, really deep roots that are entrenched in our core and foundation. And they believe so strongly in this school, and I think that that shows.”

So you had in your mind that you might have wanted to be principal one day, but why did you specifically want to try for this principal position? 

“I applied for the interim status, because in my heart, I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve been doing the work. I’ve been part of this leadership team. I know where we are. And I think that I can help us to forge ahead through the rest of this year’…. And the idea, I think, of stepping back was something that I would have been willing to do had there been a candidate that was a better fit.”

Is there anything you learned in the role of Assistant Principal that you can apply to the Principal position?

“The work of restorative practices, entrenched with our community, or our faculty and staff, and our teachers, and our student support team, was work that I was helping and really a part of. And so I feel like that experience, in that background and just in leading that work, it provides a good lens of the importance of community and relationships.” 

How did you feel when you first received the news that you had gotten the position?

“I was really excited. And a little, I will say, relieved, because it was a pretty laborious process. There were a lot of interviews. I think also being in this role [of interim principal], even though there were other candidates, I was the candidate that people were seeing every day. And so while others could come in and interview, I almost felt like I was in an everyday interview.” 

Has there been anything that has been a struggle these past few months as interim principal?

“I think the hardest thing has been transitioning. Typically, when you take on a new role, specifically, as a leadership [role], you have the summer to transition in. … I think, for this year, having been put in this position in January, in the middle of a major construction project, with a school that was closed, and so many things going on at once, it was really kind of boots on the ground, day-by-day learning. …When you’re learning on the fly, in addition to doing the job, it adds a level of commitment, and hardship, and excitement, and all of these really conflicting feelings.”

What are your goals as principal?

“I think some of my long term goals [involve] being able to capitalize on this opportunity [of being downtown], to enhance our experiential learning and communities’ partnerships. To provide access for our students is huge.”

What are you most excited about for the coming year?

“I think, hopefully, I feel like I need to knock on wood: consistency. … I think returning to a place of something that’s familiar and not having to have this disrupted year.”

What do you think will be a challenge in the coming year?

I think that the [DTBHS] space still is challenging, based on some of the structure. … But it’s really more about how we come together as a community to overcome that and be together. That’s the real strength.”