Regina Armstrong, named the Hempstead school system’s acting superintendent amid a tumult in leadership, is a familiar face to students and longtime residents.
Armstrong, now 50, joined the Hempstead district in 1990 and has spent her entire professional career there — a 28-year run during which she rose from teaching second grade to be associate superintendent for elementary curriculum and instruction. She also held positions as a curriculum specialist, assistant principal and principal.
The school board named her acting superintendent Tuesday night after trustees, by a 3-2 vote, placed Superintendent Shimon Waronker on administrative leave.
“I think everyone is clear what the challenges [are] we face in Hempstead schools,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “I plan on overcoming the challenge by staying focused, doing the work, and trying my best not to be distracted by the other noise in the system. We have to make sure the focus is back on the students.”
Armstrong, who lives in Rockville Centre, has an annual salary of nearly $185,250, according to state data as of Sept. 1, 2017.
She vowed to implement recommendations spelled out by Jack Bierwirth, the district’s state-appointed special adviser, in a report released Monday.
Armstrong said she prides herself on “a great background in literacy, ELA [English Language Arts], reading, as well as being a team player known to get the job done.”
Deborah DeLong, 65, a colleague and 38-year district veteran who serves as assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services, praised Armstrong’s knowledge of curriculum matters, saying she is “extremely knowledgeable at her area and a very fast learner.”
Previous superintendents “all leaned on her very heavily for information and guidance,” DeLong said. “She’s a smart lady.”
Armstrong said her first job in the district was teaching second-graders at Franklin Elementary School, then second- and fifth-graders at Prospect School. She became a curriculum specialist at Prospect and later was assistant principal.
Stints followed as assistant principal at Franklin Elementary, Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School, and Fulton Elementary School — now Paterson Elementary — where she began as principal in the 2007-08 school year. She started in her most recent position of associate superintendent in July 2013.
Armstrong received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and sociology from Queens College, from which she also earned a professional diploma in school and district administration. She holds a master’s degree from Hofstra University in Reading K-12. She is pursuing a doctoral degree from Indiana-based American College of Education, which offers online degrees targeted toward working educators.
She was among six community leaders honored by the Hempstead NAACP last summer for their “outstanding contributions” in the fight for freedom.
With John Hildebrand