Dear Meridian Parents & Community,
After 32 years as a Texas educator, Kelly McBride, Meridian School's primary school principal, has announced her plans to retire at the end of this school year.
As many of you know, Kelly joined Meridian in July of 2011 as its inaugural primary principal. Using her own words, she was "intrigued [by the] opportunity to
create an International Baccalaureate program free from many of the requirements that districts face...[with the ability to spend] time teaching state requirements in a manner we believe is best for students in preparation for their future, rather than teaching specifically to a test..."
When Head of School Rick Fernández was asked who would be a good fit as the primary school principal, Kelly McBride was the first name that came to mind. At that time in 2011, Meridian was only months away from welcoming its very first group of students, yet construction on the building was not complete, some staff were yet to be hired and teachers to be trained. Many questioned if it could actually be done, but due in part to Kelly's leadership and perseverance, the school opened its doors to 650+ students on August 30, 2011. She was certainly a risk-taker, and her determination to help Meridian build a model program was inspiring!
It was Kelly's many years of experience in education, and in particular her knowledge of the IB curriculum, that enabled Meridian to do in only 18 months what would take most schools three or more years to complete: to become an IB Primary Years Program authorized school. This helped create the momentum that would later lead the school to become authorized in both the Diploma Program and Middle Years Program. Meridian is now one of only a handful of public schools in Texas to offer the full IB Continuum.
Even after authorization, the hard work didn't end, and neither did the challenges. It is widely known that achieving authorization in an IB program does not mean the work is done. There are many checkpoints along the way, and because of her continued commitment to teaching IB with fidelity, she led the PYP to reauthorization in the spring of 2017. In addition, the primary school was constantly evolving and every year brought about new changes. Kelly went from being a K-6 principal of 600+ students to a K-5 principal of 800+ students. In fact, this year she will watch as that inaugural sixth grade class walks the stage as high school graduates of the IB Diploma Program.
During her tenure at Meridian, Kelly has given the school her very best. There have been countless early mornings that have turned into late nights, because her vision to bring the IB culture to Meridian was always at the forefront of her mind and work. She's been known for the time and care put into mentoring teachers and sharing her comprehension of IB. She has worked tirelessly to hire and retain qualified teachers who have adopted this style of inquiry-based learning that many find too challenging. The new tradition of "Be Sweet to Others Day," a day devoted to students taking action rather than celebrating Valentine's Day with the typical candy and flowers, will be just part of the legacy Kelly McBride leaves behind.
|Third Grade making blankets for Project Linus
When Head of School Rick Fernández was recently asked about his time working with Kelly, he responded, "What I learned from Kelly about primary school education and children, the IB Primary Years Program, and educational leadership couldn't be learned in hundreds of hours of graduate school. I consider her the PYP expert and have no doubt that her accomplishments within the IB community will influence PYP schools throughout Texas for years and decades to come. The woman whom I call colleague and friend is amazing. I will miss her greatly."
Founder & COO Karalei Nunn also praised Kelly's contribution to Meridian, "Kelly built a beautiful foundation with the primary school from which Meridian has been able to grow and thrive. I am certain that the original founders will join me in saying that she has been an integral-and even crucial-part of the success of this school. Kelly shared our vision and believed in the mission, and for that we will always be grateful."
Rick Fernández further commented, "After three decades of commitment to the education of Texas children, Kelly will soon enter her next stage of life. Even in retirement, she will likely continue with her passion by lending her expertise to other aspiring IB schools as a consultant. Regardless, her next chapter will most certainly involve living the good life with others. Please join the entire Meridian family in wishing our beloved Kelly McBride a wonderful future."
In the meantime, Meridian's executive leadership team will embark on a national search to hire a new primary principal who will take the reins in June. While this person will have very big shoes to fill, he or she will benefit from entering a program that has been under Kelly's tremendous care and leadership.