The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Acting superintendent named for Washington Birthplace, Thomas Stone historic sites
Two major Colonial historic sites along the Potomac River have a new boss, the National Park Service says.
Regional Director Dennis R. Reidenbach has appointed Tarona Armstrong, a native of Marianna, Ark., as acting superintendent of George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Virginia and Thomas Stone National Historic Site in Maryland.
Mike Caldwell, deputy director of the agency’s Northeast Region, announced the appointment.
On an interim basis, Armstrong will replace Lucy Lawliss, who became superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Aug. 21.
John Storke, a native of Virginia’s Northern Neck who had been the birthplace’s interim superintendent this summer, remains its permanent administrative officer and is “a valued member of the NPS team,” Caldwell said.
Armstrong, a management assistant in the Northeast Regional Office in Philadelphia since January 2012, will arrive at the Washington Birthplace the last week of September.
Her time there will complete her two-year assignment in a highly competitive position that grooms the Park Service’s “next generation of leaders,” qualifying her for a field job somewhere in the Northeast Region, Caldwell said.
“This is a good opportunity for her,” the region’s chief of staff said of Armstrong’s appointment at the two Potomac River sites, which share management and interpretive staff. “We have found that when we had these types of acting assignments, the park benefits as well as the individual.”
Before working at the regional office, Armstrong was chief of interpretation at President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site in Hope, Ark.
She began her National Park Service career as a seasonal ranger at Gateway National Recreation Area in 1991 while attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, from which she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in parks and recreation in 1994, Caldwell said.
“It’s an honor to have been selected for this detail position, and I welcome the opportunity to serve as acting superintendent at the George Washington Birthplace/Thomas Stone sites through the naming of a new superintendent,” Armstrong said Friday via email. “I look forward to helping out during this transition and learning about the park story, working with the staff, visitors, and the community.”
In 1992, she entered into a student post at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Upon graduation, Armstrong was offered a full-time position as a park ranger.
In 1997, she moved to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kan., as the lead park ranger, then was accepted into the new-leadership management program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture graduate school. Those experiences led to a supervisory position at Everglades National Park in 1999.
Armstrong has also worked at Arkansas Post National Memorial—the first European settlement in the lower Mississippi Valley, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Arkansas and Cane River Creole National Historical Park in Natchitoches, La.
She later earned two graduate degrees from the University of Webster in human resource management and management and leadership.
Caldwell said the hiring of a permanent replacement for Lawliss is under way.
That position will probably be filled by the end of the year, he said.
Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029