BARACK OBAMA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, HEMPSTEAD
For Helisse D. Palmore, head of the first school in the nation to be named for President Barack Obama, the saying “A child is nature’s way of giving the world another chance” are words to live by. She took her cue to enter the field of education from her parents, both of whom spent about 38 years as dedicated educators in Long Island, N.Y. “It was by watching my parents that I understood the importance of giving back to others and working as a servant-leader in whatever occupational field I decided to enter,” says Palmore, principal of Barack Obama Elementary School, Hempstead Public School, in Hempstead, N.Y.
An early stint in corporate America as a systems consultant at AT&T’s Asia Pacific corporate branch reaffirmed for Palmore that education was her true calling. The position at AT&T was “lucrative,” but she missed being in a position to help others. Since that time, she has worked in a capacity she considers her life’s destiny — as an educator and administrator in schools in Connecticut and in the New York districts of Westbury, Uniondale and the Bronx. “The greatest reward comes from the excitement, anticipation and joy that our children show when they are in school,” explains Palmore. “When they smile, it’s a constant reminder that I am exactly where God wants me to be,” she says.
Palmore has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Hampton University, a master’s in education from Fordham University and a school administrator and supervisor certificate from the College of New Rochelle. Holding fast to the belief that an unwavering commitment to community is a necessary part of her journey, she is an active member of the Iota Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and of the Long Island Chapter of The Links Inc., taking part in a range of service activities.
Favorite book: “Savage Inequities”
Favorite singer: Marvin Gaye
Favorite sport: Volleyball