Students at Vermont’s largest Catholic high school have new administrators, and those at Barre’s Catholic elementary school have a new principal.

Andrew Keough is the interim principal at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington where Daniel Routhier is now associate principal.

Robert Michael (“Mike”) Alford is the new principal at St. Monica-St. Michael School in Barre.

“Throughout my career and adult life, I have sought to serve God. I have had so many blessings in life that I attribute to God’s mercy that I feel the least I can do is give back in the cause of good,” Keough said. “Young people today are struggling. They need faith, a love of their fellow man/woman, an ability to forgive, commitment to healthy causes and adults who model positive behavior. I feel honored to have been called to this opportunity” at Rice.

Alford always has wanted the opportunity to be a principal of a Catholic school: “This gives the freedom to practice my faith and to model the value of my faith to my students, staff and parents.”

He worked for a public school system in Louisiana for 20 years and was a high school teacher, special education coordinator and principal of a large elementary school.

Routhier was a teacher of technology and history, library/technology coordinator, dean of students and assistant principal in Connecticut before arriving at Rice.

He said the strengths he brings to Vermont’s largest Catholic high school include effective communication and collaboration with community stakeholders to ensure the best experience for families and working with faculty and students on teaching and learning on their shared journey in education.

Keough, the interim principal, said he brings experience, love of young people and commitment to serving the greater good, all of which he said will serve the Rice community well. “My faith is strong and I am committed to providing stable leadership to the school for the benefit of staff and students.”

He is a former superintendent of schools in Massachusetts and has worked as a high school principal and assistant principal.

Among his priorities will be ensuring the safety and good health of staff and students as they confront the ongoing challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and maintaining healthy enrollment numbers during difficult financial times.

To St. Monica-St. Michael School, Alford brings his experience as a principal, leadership skills, management skills, a positive and proactive attitude and strong Catholic faith.

“In this day and time with the many world issues facing each of us, I believe a Catholic education provides an opportunity to develop and nurture the faith in God in the students and to provide an environment that creates a positive climate for learning,” he said. “I think a Catholic education helps to build strong character in students by teaching respect for others, establishing the value and love of learning, the value of serving others, the creation of a positive self-image and most of all to foster a deep love of our Lord.”

Routhier said he is “beyond excited to join the Rice Memorial community,” noting, “Catholic education provides us all with a much-needed support — faith. Our shared faith binds us together when times are tough and allows us to appreciate who and what we have in the good times and the more difficult times, helping alleviate the stresses and anxieties. A student well-rooted in faith can weather stronger winds, and Catholic schools offer a garden of hope.”

—Originally published in the Fall 2022 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.