Marlene Armstrong MUSD
Marlene Armstrong will be principal of Maricopa Unified School District's new high school. She is currently an assistant principal at Maricopa High School.

The Maricopa Unified School District has appointed a principal for its second high school.

Marlene Armstrong, who was hired last year as the assistant principal for Career and Technical Education at Maricopa High School, will lead the as-yet-unnamed school slated to open for the 2022-23 school year at the southwest corner of Farrell and Murphy roads on the eastern side of the city. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

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Faculty and staff at Maricopa High School were informed of the appointment via e-mail on March 25.

Prior to coming to MHS for the 2020-21 school year, Armstrong had been at San Tan Charter School, a K-12 school in Gilbert from 2014 to 2020, where she had most recently served as the school’s principal. Previously, she served as Education and Career Action Plan coordinator in the Payson Unified School District.

Armstrong said she is excited to begin her new endeavor.

When asked what attracted her to the role, she said “the possibility of creating partnerships with students, parents, community stakeholders, and MUSD leadership to build a high school for the Maricopa community that creates a legacy for generations to come.”

Armstrong will assume her new position July 1, 2021. In the year leading up to the opening of the new school she will develop programming, hire and onboard staff, and facilitate processes that will determine the unique features of the second high school.

Her career experience includes opening a new school, which was a factor in bringing her on board, according to MUSD superintendent Dr. Tracey Lopeman.

“I am excited to bring someone of Ms. Armstrong’s background and experience on board to lead the second high school,” Lopeman said. “Her experience in launching programs and opening a school will be important in this planning year. I know Ms. Armstrong to be a driven and passionate leader committed to creating a culture of personal and academic success. I look forward to the innovative opportunities she will bring to our students.”

Before her promotion to principal at San Tan Charter, Armstrong was the curriculum and instruction assistant principal, overseeing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programming, professional development, student conduct, gifted student identification, special education, and the Title I program.

At Payson High School, she directed STEM integration and special education, and served as college and career readiness coordinator. A former teacher who was named Teacher of the Year by the Arizona Rural Schools Association, Armstrong holds a master’s degree in education leadership from Grand Canyon University, and a bachelor of arts degree from Arizona State University. She also attended high school in the Valley, graduating from Phoenix Shadow Mountain High School.