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Familiar face joins SSP Secondary leadership team

photo of Kristin Johnson Dec. 2, 2019 — As of today, students, staff and families will see a familiar face in a new role at South St. Paul Secondary as Kristin Johnson begins her first day as an interim assistant principal. Johnson fills the vacancy created with Corey Knighton’s resignation in October. Johnson’s Packer Pride runs deep, having graduated from South St. Paul and spent her entire professional career at SSP Secondary.

“Being able to lead in the building that you graduated from and that provided so many opportunities to me as a high school student is pretty special,” Johnson said. “I’ve been a Packer for a long time and my desire to ensure our students are provided the best education possible runs deep. I look forward to giving back to the school that gave me the foundation for who I am today.”  

For the past two years, Johnson has worked as the district’s K-12 digital learning specialist, supporting teams and teachers districtwide in developing their capacity to integrate digital learning into instruction to personalize student learning and increase learner agency. Previously, Johnson was a social studies teacher SSP Secondary where she taught a variety of courses, including IB psychology and global studies, and served in a variety of teacher leadership roles. Johnson is also familiar to many on the courts of the Packer Activity Center where she was the head varsity girls basketball coach for 10 years and an assistant basketball and volleyball coach for five years. 

Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Science Secondary Education and a master’s in educational administration from St. Mary’s University. She also holds a specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

In her new role, Johnson will assume administrative oversight of ninth and tenth grade, working in partnership with Principal Chuck Ochocki, Assistant Principals Stacy Jeffrey (grades 11-12) and Angie Ryter (grades 6-8), and Activities Director/Assistant Principal Chad Sexauer. 

“Kristin is ready to jump in and help us move our mission of igniting a passion in every learner forward,” said Chuck Ochocki, SSP Secondary principal. “Her connection to and understanding of the South St. Paul community, her experience working with teachers and students across the district, and her passion and ideas for how we can get better are just some of the reasons we are excited about having Kristin join the leadership team.”  

Among the things she hopes to accomplish in her new role, Johnson said that she looks forward to supporting students in being successful in doing school so they can graduate and have endless opportunities post-secondary, connect more students to school activities, groups and teachers so all students believe they have a place and are welcome, and helping to close the achievement gap. 

“Specifically, as the AP for 9/10, which I believe are two of the most crucial years in your high school career, I look forward to helping students set a solid foundation for the rest of their time in SSP,” she said. “I also look forward to supporting staff who have dedicated a great of time to ensure our students receive the best education possible while at SSP.”