Search for Park’s principal takes off

Permanent position to be filled


Noah Orloff

Superintendent Astein Osei speaks June 6 at Park’s 2019 Graduation. Osei will begin leading the search for a new principal after applications are due Feb. 24.

Tobias Khabie and Maddie Schutte

After bringing on interim Principal Wendy Loberg for the 2020-21 school year, the search for someone to permanently fill this role has kick-started. After all applications are received, Superintendent Astein Osei said he will be prioritizing an experienced, student-focused candidate. 

“I believe that the leader would have to be student centered in their facilitation of leadership and in a way that they influence the direction of the building,” Osei said. “I just don’t believe we will find the success that we need if we don’t have a leader who can see, hear and understand the needs of students — and then be able to work collaboratively with the adults in the building to effectively meet those needs.”

Administration will assemble the stakeholder team Feb. 22–26 as applications are being sent in. Applications are due Feb. 24, and will be followed by initial interviews March 8–12 and second-round interviews March 15–19. Osei will conduct final interviews towards the end of March and by April 12 he will make his recommendation of his favorite candidate to the School Board for a vote.

Assistant Principal Jessica Busse said it has been rewarding to work with Loberg this year, but she understands her desire to stay retired. Busse said she hopes Loberg will still be of service to the administration after having a successful year with her so far.

“She is already retired, she is looking forward to retiring and being in retirement. And I’ve made her promise that she’s not going to leave us completely — that she’ll still hang out a little bit,” Busse said. 

Junior Renee McSherry said she is pleased with Loberg’s handling of the pandemic and distance learning.

“I think (Loberg) has done a great job. It was smart to keep us at distance learning, and even though it’s not super fun, I think it keeps us safe, she’s really playing it by ear,” McSherry said.

According to Osei, while the technical experience of a principal is important, it is the bare minimum for consideration. As he conducts his search, Osei said it is vital for the leader to be able to connect with student voices and be culturally aware and educated. 

“We have to recognize that our school is very racially and culturally diverse and if you’re a leader that does not understand, nor has any sort of consciousness around that, it could be challenging for you to support the needs of (Park) students,” Osei said. 

Freshman Mae Turman said she hopes the district is able to bring on a principal who values students and the difficulty of being a high schooler amidst the pandemic. 

“(I want) someone that really knows what they’re doing and that cares about (and) has passion for the students — that really knows and gets what high schoolers are going through,” Turman said. 

McSherry said the new principal should prioritize the needs of students and staff in order to satisfy the needs of the school.

“(I want someone who) listens to the students and faculty, that’s really important in a principal, not only making the decisions but listening to who the decision affects because it’s like we’re the ones that have to live with it,” McSherry said.

Busse said she hopes to see that in addition to their ability to handle the needs of the ongoing pandemic, she values their ability to center student voices just as much.  

“I believe that the person coming in has to be student-centered and really have the relationship and value of the student voice, and to create opportunities for students to have a role in their own education,” Busse said. 

Osei emphasized the need for a principal who will build a learning environment in which students at all levels feel safe and confident in their skills.

“I am going to prioritize a leader that has evidence of influencing the instructional environment of the school, so that students can walk into a space and feel welcome and supported and learn at high levels,” Osei said.