Haut Gap Principal Paul Padron takes on new Charleston County position to close the achievement gap
When Paul Padron lived in Cuba, his college-educated father had an executive position that provided a good life for him and his six siblings.
When his family moved to America, Padron’s father only could find work as a janitor, and his family lived in poverty.
Padron was 5 years old and surrounded by Spanish-speaking relatives. He struggled to learn English, but his parents put made sure he received a good education.
Padron, now 57, has spent 20 years in Charleston County schools working as a teacher and principal, and he’s taking on a new position that’s designed to help the kid he once was.
Padron will be the new executive director of access and opportunity. His main focus will be narrowing the achievement gap between white students and historically under-achieving groups, such as high-poverty students, those whose first language isn’t English and racial minorities.
It’s the first time the district has had this kind of position, and some of his colleagues told him they thought it was written for him. District officials say Padron was their hands-down first choice.
“He brought a vision to this body of work that wasn’t just reflective of his professional accomplishments but of his personal experiences,” said Lisa Herring, the district’s associate superintendent for academics, student support and intervention services. “That I think really helps add meaning to this work that he’s going to do.”