AES Principal Armstrong retires after 32 years in system

Posted May 19, 2020 at 1:38 pm


Armstrong waves.psd

Mr. Tim Armstrong has been working in the Clinton County School District for 32 years, 22 of which have been as principal at Albany Elementary School.

Friday, unknowing to Armstrong, Assistant Principal Sabra Albertson put together a parade to honor Armstrong and his retirement.

“Sabra wanted me to teach her about the SMT scan cards at the ‘Shack’ and, so we were out there,” Armstrong said. “She kept saying she was hearing sirens and such and I tried to get her back in the shack to focus on what I was trying to teach her and when I saw the police car pull in I was shocked.”

Armstrong said it took him a minute to realize the parade was for him. He was extremely moved by the parade and the number of people who came out to wish him the best of luck in his retirement.

“I welled up with tears and it is hard not too,” Armstrong said. “When you know people appreciate what you have done … I may have to have a councilor come to me August 1.”

Armstrong will officially be retired on July 31, 2020.

“We are like family here,” Armstrong said. “We are all close. We all acknowledge that at some point we are going to fail each other.”

Armstrong said his approach to being in charge of so many teachers was to make sure everyone was up front about everything.

“I’ve told them they are going to be disappointed in me at some point and I’m going to be disappointed in them at some point,” Armstrong said. “We keep a very professional relationship and that’s so important, so we can forgive and forget. Yes, if we make each other mad then we need to let them know it so we can get it out of the way and move on.”

In 1988 Armstrong was first hired as a biology and chemistry teacher at the high school.

While working six years in that position, Armstrong then took a position with 21st Century Learning.

“It was a federal grant and it was quite a bit of money to manage,” Armstrong said. “We were to do online classes and work with Western Kentucky University and other universities. We were one of five grantees in the United States.”

During Armstrong’s time as the Director of 21st Century Learning, he said he got to do a lot of traveling across the United States and did several presentations at the U.S. Department of Education.

“Our program was the program the states modeled for their program,” Armstrong said. “We were also one of the original five grantees who got the grant refunded for the second cycle and that was almost unheard of.”

Armstrong believes fate took him along the path to being the principal at Albany Elementary School.

“I have received hundreds of cards, calls, texts and I’m still getting them … I really appreciate all the support and I couldn’t have been placed in a better location,” Armstrong said. “I think this is a wonderful place to raise a family. God put me where I needed to be. I am a man of faith and I believe I was supposed to do this job.”

When Armstrong arrived at the elementary school, he said one of the first things he wanted to do was to build a science lab for the kids.

“I wanted children to experience hands on science,” Armstrong said. “Students love hands on science. To be able to dress up with the coats and goggles … I wanted it to be more than just classroom work. I wanted it to be interactive.”

With the old saying “If you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life.” Armstrong believes that statement is very true.

“That is exactly the way I feel,” Armstrong said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I can truthfully say that every waking moment I can’t wait to get here. I always have a to do list on my desk and sometime you don’t get to your list because of another emergency that has come about, but I’ve never viewed this as a ‘work’. It’s been an honor to serve.”

During Armstrong’s many years, he has always had one thing in mind and that is what’s best for the kids.

“I’ve always had goals, I’ve always had projects, I’ve always wanted to focus on achievements and what’s best for kids … I think that needs to be a priority,” Armstrong said. “Safety has always been a number one priority especially with younger children. The smaller the children, the more safety measures you have to have in place. Here we have to do it all from tying shoes to protect them completely.”

Other than education, Armstrong believes social interaction is just as important at this stage in their lives.

“We want their focus to be on learning and socializing,” Armstrong said. “They have to develop that bond with other people and they have to know how to interact with other people. What worries me with online classes is that they aren’t getting that socialization that they need. They need friends of all ages.”

During his 22 years as principal, Armstrong said he has had a lot of students pass through and he couldn’t have done it without his staff.

“I have to say I have the best staff,” Armstrong said. “They are wonderful, caring, loving people and they know to put children first. I think if you poll the residents of the county, I think you will find the majority of the people believe we care about the kids and want to keep kids safe.”

Armstrong is a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child whether that comes in the form of teachers, other students, and staff members along with family members.

“I can truthfully say that I could not have chosen a better career,” Armstrong said. “I truly love the people and the students and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m going to miss everyone.”

Above, Mr. Tim Armstrong was met Friday morning with a parade in his honor after 32 years of working in the Clinton County School District. Armstrong plans to retire June 30 of this year. Below, the line of cars that came through the Albany Elementary gate Friday was long and filled with teachers, administrators, family and friends all wishing Mr. Tim Armstrong good luck on his retirement. Armstrong said the parade was a complete shock to him and he was deeply honored so many people came out.