Flower Hill Primary School is getting a new principal. Huntington School Board members have approved the appointment of Lucia Laguarda as the building’s educational leader, effective November 13.
“We are particularly pleased to welcome Ms. Laguarda as Flower Hill’s next principal,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “She arrives in Huntington with a wealth of knowledge and experiences and a tremendous sense of excitement to become an integral part of the Huntington school community. She is looking forward to connecting with Flower Hill students, staff and families in the coming weeks.”
The position opened when longtime Flower Hill Principal Marlon Small left the district to become an assistant superintendent in South Country. Paula Nickerson has been serving as interim principal since September.
Trustees approved the appointment of Ms. Laguarda during an early morning public meeting on Wednesday, November 1. She has more than 25 years of experience as a teacher and administrator.
Ms. Laguarda obtained a BA in sociology with a minor in Spanish at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May 1992. She also studied as an undergraduate at Universidad de Sevilla in Spain.
Flower Hill’s new principal earned a Master of Arts in Education with a multicultural emphasis at California State University-Dominguez Hills in May 1996.
A member of the Phi Delta Kappa Honor Society, Ms. Laguarda has been the Riverhead School District’s director of professional personnel since 2015. She earlier served as principal of Hemenway Elementary School (2010-2015) and in a dual appointment as principal of King Elementary School (2013-2015) in Framingham, Massachusetts. The latter was the district’s first STEAM school.
Ms. Laguarda began her career as a bilingual classroom teacher for grades 3-5 at Clyde Woodworth Elementary School in Inglewood, California, working there from 1992-1996 before becoming a teacher support coordinator with Teach for America in Los Angeles. She supervised, evaluated and provided in-service mentoring to over 200 TFA teachers in the LA area from 1996-1998.
A bilingual and multicultural teaching methods instructor at California State University-Dominguez Hills in 1997-1998, Ms. Laguarda went on to serve as an English language special projects coordinator at Eucalyptus Elementary School in Hawthorne, California from 1998-2000. She was assistant principal of William Green Elementary School from 2000-2002 and principal of Billy Mitchell Elementary School from 2002-2005 and 2006-2010, both in Lawndale, California.
A native Spanish speaker, Ms. Laguarda was an instructional coach and school improvement consultant with Teachscape National Professional Development in the Indian Oasis School District in Tucson, Arizona in 2006.
Huntington School District officials utilized a structure screening and interview process prior to recommending Ms. Laguarda for appointment by trustees.