PRINCPAL KELLY ELEMENTRAY SCHOOL
Carlsbad Unified School District
Tressie Armstrong has been a long time educator from 1980-the present. Following a long teaching career, she moved into administration as an assistant principal at Valley Middle School, and then into her current position of principal at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad.
Her commitment to her work is to encourage and support her entire community in developing healthy minds, bodies, and spirits.
Mrs. Armstrong has presided over Kelly during the incredible challenge of a school shooter on October 8, 2010. A Carlsbad Unified School District board member remarked, “Tressie is an inspirational leader whom Carlsbad values. Thrown into a crisis situation, she impressed us all with her extraordinary capacity to lead. I admire her ability to stay cool under pressure. Her warmth, combined with her organizational abilities, helped guide our Kelly Cougars immediately back into their everyday routine of learning.”
October 8, 2010 was a defining moment in Tressie's career and life. The story begins long before that day when a lone gunman scaled the fence and wildly began shooting at kids on the playground during lunchtime recess. At our District, all schools drill rigorously for emergencies. Tressie drilled her staff and students as if their lives depended upon it, so when their lives actually did depend upon their reactions, they responded quickly and calmly, following her strong example. Afterward, many staff and students said how safe and secure they felt while huddled in classrooms hearing Mrs. Armstrong's voice reassuring them that all was well.
Armstrong states, “Education is not merely a career. For me it is a calling. If we want to make the world better, we have to choose love over hate and courage over fear; not just say it, but do it. And we have to teach our children to do the same. This is about all of us working together for one common cause: our children.”