New principal announced

LaNisha Paddock to take over head of school position


Ayelet Prottas

Seniors Emma Amon and Jack Fredrickson work during english class April 19. Many students were involved in the interview process for the new principal.

Incoming principal for the high school LaNisha Paddock said when she got the call from superintendent Astein Osei offering her the position, she immediately knew she was going to accept. 

“Throughout the process  —  from the time that I applied, to the research that I did about (the) St. Louis Park school district, to getting offered the position, there was just this really welcoming feeling of community,” Paddock said. “There was a really warm feeling and it was an immediate yes.” 

Having experience working in K-6 education and working up to administrative positions, Paddock currently serves as the principal of Battle Creek Middle School. 

According to Paddock, the missions of the school district aligned with her own passions, which led her to apply for this position. 

“One of my passions is instructional leadership. I love working with teachers and looking at instruction and another passion I have is equity work,” Paddock said.

Alongside a mixed pool of students and staff, science teacher Alexander Polk said he volunteered to participate in the interview process over Google Meet, as he acknowledged the importance of having multiple perspectives. 

“We do not have a ton of staff of color in this building. And so I think it’s important for me, as somebody of color, to participate and make sure that my voice is heard,” Polk said. “It’s really important because it’s not just teachers that are going to be interacting with her, it’s not just parents or guardians or other community members, it’s all of them, all of us.”

According to junior Sumaya Moalim, whilst sitting in on the interview, she specifically sought out personable candidates who listened to students’ opinions.

“I was looking for a candidate who, number one, values student voices, goes around the hallways and talks to students and talks to the teachers on how they can help students better,” Moalim said.

Although there was a pool of very strong candidates, Osei said Paddock’s consistent appreciation for community and relationships allowed her to stand out in the process. 

“It was hard to make a decision when you have such high quality people, but what really separated Ms. Paddock from the other really talented leaders was the fact that she consistently, throughout the entire interview process, really displayed a student-centered type of mindset and leadership style,” Osei said.

According to Moalim, Paddock’s values of equity and her willingness to cater to the specific needs of students, really stuck out to her.  

“She knows that everyone’s different, so they all can’t be treated the same,” Moalim said. “People that come from other places, who are new, she wants them to feel comfortable, and she was talking about how to make sure everybody gets what they need.”