Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 14, 2014

Armstrong to lead state association

Mike James
The Independent

LOUISA — The Kentucky School Boards Association has hired Lawrence County School Superintendent Mike Armstrong as its executive director.

Armstrong, who will be the first superintendent to have the position, starts work July 1.

“I’ve had experience working at the state level and having the chance to do state-level work again is exciting and exhilarating,” Armstrong said Thursday. “There’s an impact from Pikeville to Paducah, all across the commonwealth.

“At 59, this is a chance to step back up to that level of work while I still have a little bit of energy.”

Hiring Armstrong brought a range of educational experience from teaching to administration, at the state level in Kentucky and Ohio and locally as principal and Lawrence superintendent, according to KSBA President Durward Narramore. “The biggest thing was his leadership ability, his ability to work across groups and be accepted by everyone,” Narramore said.

The KSBA’s 27-member board, which voted unanimously to hire Armstrong, also was impressed by his ability to build relationships, he said. Armstrong also has experience in local government, being a former Louisa mayor and council member.

Armstrong started his career in Lawrence County and spent most of it there, first as a special education teacher at Lawrence County High School and later as middle school principal and director of special education and preschool programs.

He managed state special-needs programs for the Kentucky and Ohio departments of education. He spent a year as an educational consultant in Qatar, working with schools to develop services for disabled students.

The Marietta, Ohio, native is in his fifth year as Lawrence superintendent. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from the University of Kentucky and is pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership from Morehead State University.

Armstrong signed a four-year contract at a starting salary of $125,000, plus benefits. The job will take him to Frankfort, but Armstrong said he would commute back to Lawrence County on weekends.

He notified the school board at a special meeting earlier this week and board chairman Jim See said Thursday the replacement process will start as soon as possible. See hopes to have a new superintendent ready to start by July 1, he said.

“Mike was great. When he came to the job we were in a mess and he has been a good leader. We now are proficient and hoping to do better,” see said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.