Education News

Meet MUHS principal finalists this Thursday

MIDDLEBURY — This Thursday evening, the public will be able to meet the three finalists for the Middlebury Union High School principal’s job, and to give their feedback to the hiring committee.

The finalists include the principal of a middle school in Maine who grew up in Hinesburg, the principal of a middle school in Duxbury, and the interim principal of MUHS, who is also assistant superintendent of Addison Central School District.

Over the past several weeks, our MUHS Principal Hiring Committee has reviewed applications and held initial interviews. We have now selected three finalists: Tom Drake, Caitlin Steele, and Colden Golann.

On Thursday, March 23, the Hiring Committee will conduct final interviews with Golann, Drake and Steele in the morning. In the evening, they will hold a “Meet the MUHS Principal Finalists” community forum from 6-8:15 p.m. Each candidate will be invited to spend 45 minutes with the public in a Zoom online meeting. This is the opportunity to meet the candidates, ask them questions, and provide confidential feedback to the committee to aid in their final decision.

To attend the “Meet the MUHS Principal Finalists” community forum on Thursday, use the Zoom meeting link; the passcode is: MUHS.

The candidates will be present at the following times:

6-6:45 p.m.: Caitlin Steele

6:45-7:30 p.m.: Tom Drake

7:30-8:15 p.m.: Colden Golann

At the end of the week, the Hiring Committee will forward their recommendation to Superintendent Peter Burrows. The plan is to share the final decision with the community the week of March 27.

MUHS Principal Justin Campbell resigned on Jan. 26 giving only a few hours’ notice and no clarity on his reasons for leaving other than to find “a different challenge that helps me to better balance all aspects of my life.” Steele was appointed to fill in as interim principal while the district searches for a replacement.

Here is a brief introduction to the three MUHS principal candidates in their own words:

Caitlin S. Steele, Ph.D.


I have been a public school educator for over two decades. At the start of my career, I taught for six years at an alternative school in Brighton, Colo., then for five years at Otter Valley Union High School in Brandon.

After my daughter was born, I spent one year teaching part-time at the Community College of Vermont in Rutland. That year I was accepted into the University of Vermont’s Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. While at UVM, I had the opportunity to teach both undergraduate and graduate courses in education.

In 2016, I graduated from UVM and accepted a job as Director of Teaching and Learning for Addison Central School District (ACSD). In that role, I developed extensive knowledge of the continuum of International Baccalaureate (IB) programs including the Primary Years Program, Middle Years Program, Diploma Program and Career Related Program.

I am currently serving as Assistant Superintendent of ACSD and Interim Principal of Middlebury Union High School. I am a fan of the IB framework and am eager to see it fully developed within the Vermont context of personalized learning and flexible pathways to graduation. I am an advocate for student voice and choice and for teacher leadership. After seven years in district administration, I find I have been re-energized by the opportunity to work directly with students and teachers once again, and I am honored to be considered for the permanent role of principal.

Tom Drake


My name is Tom Drake, and I am seeking to be the next principal of your Middlebury Union High School.

After receiving my undergraduate degree in Mathematical Economics from Brown University, and trying out the banking world for a short while, I “found the light” in my frequent weekend visits to a friend who worked at a boarding school, and where I found my time with energetic and optimistic young people much, much more meaningful than my time with stodgy bankers.

I officially entered the profession of teaching and learning in 1988, as a high school math teacher and computer lab facilitator, and with the exception of a short stint in helping to run a family business in Central New York, I have been in the education world since.

I earned my master’s degree in education, along with my teaching license, from Stanford University, and brought that license straight to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Teaching, coaching, technology coordination and administration have been my various roles in the world of education, and professional and personal life took me and my family to live and work in Hong Kong, London and North Carolina, with periods in Vermont in between. For the past 14 years, I have been the principal of Crossett Brook Middle School in Duxbury.

On a personal level, I currently reside in Waterbury, am married (30 years in July!) to Madeline, who works at the McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, and have three sons in their 20s who are living their lives in various parts of the world. My spare time finds me playing and following “the beautiful game” (aka football or soccer), hanging out with my 9-year old dog Pele, staying active with snow sports, and listening to great podcasts while working on challenging puzzles.

I strongly believe that the sum of my experiences, combined with my open mind and open heart, put me in a great position to help to lead Middlebury Union High School forward. I appreciate your time and your attention towards my candidacy for this position, and for your continued support of the Middlebury public school system.

Colden Golann


My name is Colden Golann and I am excited about the opportunity to visit and potentially join the Addison Central community. I grew up in Hinesburg, attended CVU, and I am proud to be a born and raised Vermonter.

I attended St. Lawrence University in Northern New York, where I studied History and Secondary Education.

After college I accepted a job teaching Computer Technology and eventually 6th-8th grade English and Social Studies at a small island school off of midcoast Maine. Islesboro Central School is a K-12 school with less than 100 students where I was able to serve in many different roles including athletic director, soccer and basketball coach, and I had the opportunity to teach every grade level during my time there.

Following that experience I transitioned to the assistant principal role at a regional high school of about 500 students. During my time there I also led the offsite alternative program, taught AP U.S. Government, and worked to build a marine industries immersion program for students.

Currently, I am the principal of a 350-student middle school in midcoast Maine. In my current role I have the opportunity to work every day with a group of committed staff to support a community that is facing significant economic, cultural and substance abuse challenges.

I have great respect for my current position but my wife and I are looking for an opportunity to come home to Vermont to raise our 10-month-old daughter with our yellow lab, chickens and three pigs. I am excited about the opportunity to join Middlebury Union High School and to become a dedicated member of the Addison Central community. I look forward to meeting many of you soon and learning more!



The committee hiring the next MUHS principal is led by Jay Nichols, who is executive director of the Vermont Principals’ Association. Committee members are:

  • Nicole Carter, ACSD Director of Equity and Student Services
  • Ben Weir, MUHS Assistant Principal
  • Tara Martin, MUHS Individuals and Societies Teacher
  • Joseph Crodelle, MUHS Math Teacher
  • Debra Hurlburt, MUHS Administrative Assistant to the Principal
  • Adrien Preston, MUHS Director of School Counseling
  • Emma Morrissey, MUHS Student
  • Atticus Peterson, MUHS Student
  • Piper Harrell, MUHS Parent
  • Jason Chance, MUHS Parent and ACSD Board Member
  • Lindsey Hescock, ACSD Board Member


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