Lauren McBride resigns: an exclusive interview


Courtesy of J Andrews

Cecily Spence, Managing Editor

Principal Lauren McBride announced her resignation and will not be returning to BHS after winter break.

“I love Burlington High School,” McBride said. “It has been my home for the last five years, and we’ve been through a lot.”

Principal McBride was fully committed to BHS and its community for the last five years. She has been the principal through confusion of remote learning during the pandemic and the transition to the DownTown High School in a former Macy’s building. McBride says that while she will miss walking into the school knowing every day will be a little different, what she will miss the most is the people.

“I have grown and made a lot of really important relationships,” McBride said. “[That] includes students. It includes families. It includes the faculty and staff. The people are what makes this place vibrant, it’s what gives this place life.” 

Superintendent Tom Flanagan says that he will announce an interim principal this week. That person will remain in the position for the remainder of the school year. Flanagan assures the BHS community that BSD is working hard to find a permanent principal for the 2023-2024 school year.

“We will post it soon, probably in the next week or two, and that will give us a nice, long time to find someone,” Flanagan said. “We will have a community-driven interview process where there  will be a group of stakeholders, students, family members, community members and staff who will be a part of the interview process. We look forward to the process and getting started so we can find a really great person to lead Burlington High School into the next chapter.”

McBride is currently working on a thorough transition plan document to ensure that the next principal will have the necessary information for their role as well as access to important resources.

“I’m really committed to making sure that when I leave everything continues on the path upwards that it’s on right now,” McBride said. “My goal in this is that whoever comes in has an extensive roadmap so they have everything that they need at their fingertips to just keep moving.”

McBride moved from Boston to take the job of principal in May of 2021 after the abrupt resignation of Noel Green.

“When I moved to Vermont, my home became BHS. This is my community,” McBride said. “Telling the faculty and staff that I was going to be leaving was a really emotional experience because I really love the people that I work with and the students and the families that are here. It was really hard, it was really scary.”

After January, McBride will start her executive leadership job with Rhino Foods, Inc.

“I’m excited to be able to continue to build my leadership capacity and my skill set in a different industry, and to take on something that seems a little bit different and foreign,” McBride said. “Some of the work that I do here [at BHS] is working with people, and I’m going to be doing a lot of that in my new role. [I will be] working with people, helping to excite them, and helping [them] to build their culture- so I’m excited to see the transfer.”

Flanagan says he is sad to see McBride depart, but is grateful for her impact on BHS.

“She left the school in a really good place and I feel grateful for her leadership,” Flanagan said. “I’m also happy that she’s working with us through the transition and making sure that there’s a smooth transition, and that she’s making a decision that she thinks is best for her family and herself right now. So, yeah, I’m feeling all kinds of things.”

As for the future of BHS, Flanagan believes that the construction of the new BHS/BTC building will continue moving forwards smoothly- due in part to the work Principal McBride has done.

“We have a good team that’s working together with [BHS] on the new high school design,” Flanagan said. “Our design team is going to keep working closely with students, staff, and the leadership team, so it’s something we are being really mindful of as we make this transition.”

UPDATE 1/5/23:

In an email sent to the Burlington School District on Dec 22, Superintendent Tom Flanagan announced that Amy Mellencamp will return from retirement as acting principal on Jan 17. Mellencamp served as BHS principal for 17 years from 1999-2016.

“[Mellencamp] has a deep understanding of BHS and Vermont’s statutes and policies,” Flanagan wrote. “She also has many positive relationships in the building and is supportive of the work we are doing to become a more restorative district that emphasizes relationships, belonging, and deep learning.”

Mellencamp will spend four days a week at BHS  following Lauren McBride’s last day on Jan 9.

“Please join me in thanking Lauren for her leadership and service to BSD, and in thanking Amy for rejoining BSD in an important transition,” Flanagan wrote. “Because of her leadership, I am very optimistic about the future of our high school.”