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Vice Principal Dr. McBride on Manogue’s Accreditation, What She Loves about her Job, her Love for Concerts, and More

Manogue’s vice principal of six years, Dr. Lauren McBride, is an avid concert-goer, pizza-lover, and mother of three. Above all, though, she is extraordinarily passionate about education.

Eleanor Salkoff, Editor-in-Chief

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Manogue’s vice principal of six years, Dr. Lauren McBride, is an avid concert-goer, pizza-lover, and mother of three. Above all, though, she is extraordinarily passionate about education.

While most students recognize her as a longtime administrator, few know that when she was in high school, she was set on becoming a tattoo artist to follow her passion for art — a dream she later traded in for teaching when she discovered her love for “helping people and serving others.”

 

What She Does, and Why It’s Important:

 

Dr. McBride has recently moved her office from the front office down toward counseling and the registrar, in hopes that her proximity to teachers and students will make her “more accessible” and a “familiar face” day-to-day.  Her job as vice principal encompasses everything from curriculum to counseling to institutional compliance: she’s primarily responsible for the courses students take, student and teacher schedules, and standardized testing.  

Additionally, she oversees the entire counseling department, admissions, and institutional compliance — an important aspect that involves the schoolwide accreditation process, a multiple-year operation that Dr. McBride sums up as two agencies, the WCEA (Western Catholic Education Agency) and AdvancedED, “wanting to know that [Manogue] is who we say we are.”  

Accreditation is a process that every American school goes through every few years — a “self-study” to review every aspect of an educational institution: curriculum, operations, finance, and more.  It’s incredibly important, Dr. McBride explains, as “being an accredited school is what validates [student] transcripts, verifying and asserting that we meet rigorous standards.”  Ultimately, most colleges will not accept students from an unaccredited high school, so a thorough and honest evaluation is imperative to the futures of all 650+ Manogue students.

The self-study Manogue is undergoing this year also incorporates an evaluation of how well we integrate our Catholic faith.  Dr. McBride and the rest of Manogue’s administration has made this year’s accreditation “more data-oriented and quantitative,” as required by the WCEA, because survey statistics and numbers provide the most accurate representation of Manogue as a community, school, and religious establishment.  However, Dr. McBride admits that “some facets of the faith are harder to express quantitatively” and “are not always tangible.”  

Nevertheless, Manogue administration is hard at work on reflecting on how we can improve, what we can change, and how we are already successful.

 

Growth and Change: Her Background & Advice to Students on Achieving “Success”

 

Dr. McBride has been a vice principal at Bishop Manogue for six years.  Prior to assuming this position she was the dean of students here for a year — something she found a little difficult, mostly because of her “sense of humor and sarcasm,” she explains.  “I can find the humor in most everything, so when students made silly mistakes, it was hard for me to be a disciplinarian all the time.”  

Dr. McBride knows that “she wasn’t a perfect student herself,” and like most school administrators and teachers, punishing students isn’t why she is an educator.  In fact, what she loves most about her job are the students, families, and teachers she works with.  “Seeing the growth in students and teachers is what’s most rewarding,” she says.  “Especially teachers.  As adults, we tend to get into routines, and seeing teachers grow in an area is especially fulfilling.”

Growth and change has been a common theme in Dr. McBride’s career.  In fact, she didn’t start out pursuing a career in education, but rather a career in nursing.  However, she didn’t start there either.  

In high school, she admits, she actually “hoped to become a tattoo artist.”  Dr. McBride explains that she was the “kind of kid that worked very hard; took a ton of AP classes and pushed [her]self.”  Under grueling stress — “not unlike many Manogue students,” she says — she found art as her outlet.  As a very detail-oriented person, something that surely benefits her as vice principal now, Dr. McBride found the intricacies of oil pastels, charcoals, and tattoo artistry, as a way to “draw [her]self out of the pressure.”    

This pressure, Dr. McBride believes, can be very detrimental to students’ quality of life.  “The pressure from everything, parents, teachers, society, even self-placed,” she says, “existed when I was in high school, but it exists with much greater magnitude now.”  Dr. McBride smiles and shakes her head when she hears that “students are concerned they won’t be attending an Ivy League or top-tier university, because that doesn’t align with their idea of ‘success,’” a common fear among many high school kids across the country.  

Dr. McBride attests that there are “so many different definitions of success — so many happy, ‘successful’ people out there, who have gone to all kinds of colleges and post-secondary education and they live happy, successful lives.”  She says that although it’s difficult to hear from students and families about the pressure that educators have “collaborated to inadvertently place on kids,” she strongly encourages students that “everything will be okay, and there is so much students don’t know that they think they know.”

After a stressful, but certainly fulfilling, high school experience, Dr. McBride eventually had her sights set on earning a nursing degree in college.  Neither of her parents had attended college, so “navigating college was challenging.”  In time, she switched to pursuing a degree in psychology, but after taking classes in education she found her passion: teaching.  Later, Dr. McBride earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno while teaching social studies, science, and computers at Little Flower School.  Eventually she transitioned to Manogue, where she holds an administrative position as vice principal.

Dr. McBride maintains that throughout her schooling and career, what her parents have taught her about life and hard work has remained invaluable.  From the age of 14 she has always had a job, a constant in her life that has stemmed from her parents “teaching the importance of a strong work ethic.”  Additionally, her parents always emphasized “compassion to others, and that you don’t have to fit into a little box,” she explains.  Dr. McBride believes these traits have helped her as she has grown and matured.  

Above all, Dr. McBride says that “teachers have been super influential” in her life, and after having experience with many teachers — good and bad — she has gained “a lot of perspective as a teacher and administrator as to how to best meet the needs of students, and how to work with teachers to make sure they feel that they are being heard, even if the decision is not desirable.”  She understands the importance of being reflective, apologetic, and trying to be reasonable — each significant aspects of her job, and strengths that she has accumulated over time.

 

Outside of School

 

Dr. McBride sees family as most important: she has two daughters ages three and four, and a nine-year-old stepson.  Her husband is also an educator.  She is unique in that her sister, Danielle Lacombe, teaches math at Manogue.  Working alongside her sister, Dr. McBride explains, “works well, because we work pretty seamlessly together.”  Dr. McBride believes that having a job with her sister since age 14 has been a very important part of her life, and “definitely encourage[s} students” to get jobs if they can.”

When she has time off, Dr. McBride and her husband enjoy traveling the country to attend music festivals.  Some of her favorites are Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Electric Daisy Carnival in in Las Vegas, Bottle Rock in Napa Valley, and SnowGlobe in South Lake Tahoe — a popular concert that many Manogue students attend as well, and Dr. McBride says laughingly that “sometimes she’s worried she’ll run into her students.”  

Her favorite, she affirms, is Dave Matthews Band.  Dr. McBride and her husband see “hundreds of bands a year,” but “follow Dave Matthews Band around the country the most to see as much of them as we can.”

As for vacationing, Dr. McBride and her family love Maui, and she enjoys the time between Thanksgiving and New Years because of the “togetherness of family.”  Thanksgiving food isn’t her favorite, but she loves pizza and buffalo wings, and whenever she has free time she loves to cook and spend time with her kids.

Over the past six years as vice principal, Dr. McBride explains that she has “learned a lot about all the different roles and responsibilities within the school,” and how important each one is for “effective operation.”  Student success and happiness, Dr. McBride believes, are hugely important in making Manogue an effective environment for learning, both academically and spiritually.

Dr. McBride is thrilled to be in an office that is closer to students and teachers, and wants students to know that her “door is always open!”  She would “love to learn more about them,” and encourages them to stop by, because she will “listen to anything about anyone anytime.”  

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Vice Principal Dr. McBride on Manogue’s Accreditation, What She Loves about her Job, her Love for Concerts, and More