A St. Paul principal will take over as the next principal at St. Louis Park High School.
St. Louis Park Superintendent Astein Osei planned to formally make his recommendation to select Battle Creek Middle School Principal LaNisha Paddock for the role at the April 12 School Board meeting, but that meeting was canceled due to a county-wide curfew. However, the district announced his decision in an April 7 newsletter.
“Ms. Paddock’s beliefs and actions align with the strategic direction of our organization and I believe she will be a great leader for our High School,” Osei said in the newsletter. “Ms. Paddock will help us raise the academic rigor for all students and support us in our mission to see, inspire, and empower each learner to live their brilliance in an environment that centers student voice and experience to create racially equitable learning that energizes and enhances the spirit.”
Paddock and Xavier Reed, associate principal at Irondale High School in the Mounds View Public School District, were finalists for the role.
“I was very impressed by the candidates that applied for this position,” Osei said in the statement. “We had a number of current principals from across the metro area apply and I believe that is a testament of the quality of our High School community and our school district.”
Prior to her current role, Paddock worked as assistant principal at St. Paul Harding High School, as an instructional coach at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School in St. Paul and as an elementary school teacher in the North St. Paul, Mounds View and Osseo school districts, according to the St. Louis Park newsletter.
Paddock is set to begin her new position July 1.
She will replace Wendy Loberg, who is serving as interim high school principal this school year.
Shelley Nielsen’s retirement
As the district gains a new principal at the high school, it will say goodbye to a longtime elementary school principal.
Aquila Elementary School Principal Shelley Nielsen announced she will retire at the end of June.
Nielsen worked as a teacher, coach and principal in the district. Of her 37 years as an educator, 31 years have been in St. Louis Park.
“After months of reflection, I have decided to retire at the end of this school year,” Nielsen wrote in a message to families at Aquila. “This decision has not been easy, but I know it is right for me personally.”
She noted that she attended Aquila herself as a third-grader.
“In fact, St. Louis Park has been a part of my life for 52 years!” Nielsen wrote. “I have loved being a principal and part of the SLP community for so much of my life.”
She decided to announce her retirement before it ends since the district will seek her replacement.
“I will work to support that person in any way I can,” Nielsen said.
She reflected on her time as principal.
“I am grateful for the support and partnership we have had over the last several years, but most importantly during this pandemic,” she wrote. “This is an amazing community of caring, loving people who truly put the needs of our children first.”
The district has already posted the position internally for district staff and externally for candidates.
Community members may apply to join the interview team through Friday, April 23, by visiting tinyurl.com/yy7fapft.
Interviews for candidates with the stakeholder team are set May 5-6, with second-round interviews planned Thursday, May 13. Osei will conduct the final interview Thursday, May 20, before making a recommendation to the School Board Monday, May 24.
For more information about the stakeholder team, contact Flower Krutina at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-928-6001.
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