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Sister DellaSanta named new Rice principal

Sister of Mercy Laura DellaSanta is the new principal of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington. She is shown here with Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne (right) and her predecessor, Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois, who has returned to parish ministry. Photo by Pat Gore Sister of Mercy Laura DellaSanta is the new principal of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington. She is shown here with Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne (right) and her predecessor, Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois, who has returned to parish ministry.
Sister of Mercy Laura DellaSanta has moved her office  — but not far —  from the office of the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Burlington on Joy Drive in South Burlington to the office of the principal at Rice Memorial High School on Proctor Avenue.

After two years as the chief administrator of Catholic education in Vermont — first as interim superintendent then as superintendent — she accepted the principal’s job after the resignation of Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois who has returned to parish ministry.

“I want to join everyone to continue the mission of Catholic education at Rice in a joyful community and in a Christ-centered environment with excellent academics and service to others,” she said. “I want to continue the tradition of high standards in a prayerful, caring community and to bring the school to the next level for our students of today to influence tomorrow.”

A former teacher and principal of Mater Christi School in Burlington, she was a first- and fourth-grade teacher in Milton for 13 years before entering the Sisters of Mercy in 1984. She also served as president of Walsingham Academy in Williamsburg, Va., and principal of St. Joseph Regional School in Keene, N.H.

Sister DellaSanta brings to her new role a love of education — particularly Catholic education — and a respect for the community of faith.  She has been successful with key components like academics, enrollment, finance and fundraising, and she has leadership experience.

“I know the nuances, the challenges and the alternatives to challenges [to Catholic education] and how to celebrate our success and develop long-range plans,” she said.

As principal, she will work to address financial challenges, build future leadership, keep facilities updated, provide an excellent education and continue to improve teacher salaries. Such challenges will be met with prayer and teamwork. “We all work together,” she said of the faculty, staff, pastors, parents, students and coaches.

Rice currently has about 440 students in grades nine through 12.

A Barre native, Sister DellaSanta graduated from Lyndon State College with a bachelor’s degree in education; she earned a master’s degree in education from St. Michael’s College in Colchester.

Asked why she made the change from superintendent to principal, she said she was asked to consider the principal’s job and felt she had the right gifts, experience and understanding of Rice and the greater Burlington community to bring to the school at this time.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic staff writer.
Cori Fugere Urban

Cori Urban is a longtime writer for the communications efforts of the Diocese of Burlington and former editor of The Vermont Catholic Tribune.

Vermont Catholic Magazine © 2016 Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington