by Robin Steinberger | July 13, 2018 5:51 pm
Paul Padron is running for one of the four seats on the ballot for Charleston County School Board in November. He is vying for the West Ashley seat currently held by Eric Mack, who intends to run for re-election.
Padron’s family immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1960 when he was four years-old. His father was a successful accountant in Cuba. He came to the U.S. with nothing and started as a janitor. He worked his way up to comptroller for a union in New York. Padron compared his father with an uncle who emigrated at the same time. In Cuba, his uncle was wealthy but had very little education. He became a taxi-driver in Miami. Padron knew that education was the key to success in America.
After finishing the Baptist College in North Charleston, Padron taught briefly and then ran a gymnastics club with his wife for 18 years. Teaching was his first love, and he returned to teaching in 1998 at Brentwood Middle School. He completed his administrative degree at The Citadel and became an Associate Principal at Laing Middle School in Mt. Pleasant from 2002-2007.
In 2007, Padron became principal of Haut Gap Middle School on Johns Island. Haut Gap had 198 students and was considered one of the most persistently dangerous schools in South Carolina when he arrived. He introduced the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program to improve behavior, and for the first two years, dramatically improved reading and math scores. In his third year, he introduced the Advanced Studies Magnet Program. The program was a huge success and attracted students from Johns Island who had refused to attend the previously low-performing school.
Padron stayed at Haut Gap for four years and finished out his career with Charleston County School District (CCSD) in several administrative jobs including Executive Director of Middle Schools. His final assignment was principal at Deer Park Middle School in North Charleston. He was there for two years and retired at the end of the current school year.
Although he retired from CCSD, Padron still feels he has more to offer. With his plethora of experiences in teaching and administration, he feels he can make a difference serving on the Charleston County School Board. He has worked in Johns Island, Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston, and West Ashley schools. He notes that schools in each area have different needs. He says, “Cookie-cutter curricula do not work.” He is frustrated with the lack of progress students are making in many CCSD schools.
Padron wants to strengthen neighborhood schools, continue support for reading after the 3rd grade (where It typically ends), and give principals more flexibility in funding. He states, “Human capital, students and teachers, are where money should be spent, not bureaucracy.”
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