The interim principal of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington has been selected to be its permanent principal.


The appointment of Lisa Lorenz became effective March 7.


She will continue in her role as superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Burlington for the remainder of the school year.


Last summer, the Diocese of Burlington hired Partners in Mission, a Catholic education consulting firm, to conduct a nationwide search for a principal after the retirement of Mercy Sister Laura DellaSanta. To allow for ample time to conduct the search, Lorenz agreed to act as interim principal for the 2017-18 academic year, planning to return to her job as the superintendent when the new principal was hired.


“I had every intention of returning to my role as superintendent. However, after a few months at Rice, I fell in love with the school and, with the encouragement of many parents and faculty, I felt the call to apply for the principal position,” she said.


Lorenz then added her application to a pool of highly qualified candidates. All of the candidates went through a rigorous interview process by the Principal Search Committee made up of Rice School Board members, staff and faculty members, Rice parents, and diocesan staff members. After several rounds of interviews, the Search Committee recommended Lorenz for the position. Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne and school board concurred she was the most qualified candidate.


“I was surprised that Lisa decided to apply because she had been so strong in her intent to return to the Superintendent’s role. But Rice grew on her,” the bishop commented. “She loved being there with the students, faculty and Rice families and found herself being caught up in Rice’s mission of education and formation. So she asked me if she could apply for the position.”


They both agreed that she had to go through the process like everyone else with no direct appointment by the bishop. “In the end, I am very pleased Lisa is staying at Rice,” he said. “While Rice’s gain is a diocesan-wide loss, I fully support her decision.”


Rice alumni, parents and friends can meet and hear from Lorenz and other administrative staff members, as well as Bishop Coyne at a State of the School meeting scheduled for April 4 at 5:30pm in the Rice gym.


Lorenz earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., in 1994; a master’s in moral theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Penn., in 1997; and a master’s in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Baltimore in 2008.


She taught Catholic middle school, was an elementary school administrator and was coordinator for graduate school in school counseling and mental health. She is also the principal of St. Therese Digital Academy and a licensed counselor in Vermont.