By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News
Chris Armstrong believes in Iowa schools so much he?s never not worked for or attended one. He spent the last 10 years as the Superintendent for the Highland Community School District in Riverside and is now looking forward to his future with WACO.
In 1983 he graduated from Iowa Wesleyan with a degree in music education. ?I was always really interested in music and as time went by I thought that music education was where I would fit well,? he said.
After graduation, Armstrong was hired as the middle school music teacher for the Pekin School District where he stayed for 24 years. During his time there, his role changed and he eventually became curriculum and technology director. He later received a degree in school administration from the University of Iowa and a superintendent endorsement from Drake University.
In 2007, he began working for the Highland Community School District as superintendent and stayed for 10 years. Last May, he announced he would be leaving in favor of early retirement. ?I just felt like it was a good time to change gears and move on,? he said.
He was not actively seeking a new job, but when current WACO Superintendant Jeff Dicks called and explained the situation, he could not refuse the opportunity to apply.
Armstrong was already familiar with some of the board members and their policies and was impressed by the high-quality standards. ?It just seemed like a good fit to help them out this year with my main goal being to secure a sharing arrangement for them,? he said.
He has been hired as the interim superintendent for the 2018-2019 school year on a 52-day-a-year contract, which is equivalent to one day a week. Armstrong only plans to stay the year and hopes to begin talking to surrounding schools to see if a sharing agreement, similar to the one they had with Washington, could be reached.
WACO has not had a full-time superintendent for nearly nine years and has been in a successful sharing agreement with Washington the past few years. ?We?re going to try to set something up again that gives them a good opportunity,? he said. ?I?ve been in the area long enough to know it?s a quality district,? he said.
Washington ended its sharing agreement with WACO upon hiring a new superintendent and wanting to familiarize him with one district.
Armstrong?s first official day is July 1. He does not anticipate any major changes but instead wants to maintain the high standard of education the district is already providing. ?I?m looking forward to serving this district,? he said. ?I think it?s a quality district and it should be an enjoyable year.?