From Australia to Auburn H.S., Paddock has lived education


Auburn’s assistant principal brings 26 years of experience to the Castle

Rockford, IL. – You might say John Paddock knows education. It has been his life for nearly three decades. The seasoned educator has worked with all students across America and Australia. He finds Auburn more challenging than his previous stint at Belvidere North, but at the same time, more rewarding. Paddock’s experiences here have allowed him to return to his roots.

“Students at Auburn can initially be defensive even when you are trying to help them,” Paddock, who is an assistant principal and head of the school’s Business Academy, said. “They just don’t see it; the disrespect is the most frustrating part, not only to staff but to other students as well. So far, my favorite part is the social interactions and one-on-one conversations with the kids.  They can be the worst, toughest kid out there, but when you get them one on one, they are much more kind and respectful.”

A father of two grown sons Sawyer and Holden, one middle schooler, Luke, and Dodge, his Swiss Mountain Dog – Paddock knows the trials and tribulations of raising children on your own.  He had to raise his older kids until he remarried his second wife, Penny, 10 years ago.  The experience showed him just how tough it can be to raise children, understand them, and help them persevere through the everyday challenges of life.

“As a dad, my main goals for my kids are that they are happy (in their goals, choices, and direction in their lives),” he said. “So many kids today are unhappy with their choices and the direction, they are going in. From my experience as a single dad raising young kids, I know how challenging it can be.  I try to bring that concern and understanding to my job each day.”

Paddock also calls on his previous work as a juvenile detention counselor, a high school guidance counselor, and a journalism/broadcast media teacher in his everyday life as an educator. He has worked in Australia, where he traveled to after college, and in Colorado and New Mexico schools, before landing here in Rockford.

“I went to Australia after college and was able to teach English,  backpack,  and surf. It was cool to visit the wildlife park refuges and hang with kangaroos and koalas,” he said. “After Australia, I moved out to Colorado where I tried to pick up a sponsor in snowboarding.  Unfortunately, I had to come to reality with the fact wasn’t going to make a living on the mountain.”

However, his roots were in Illinois where he has close family living today.  He graduated from Fremd High School in Palatine.  His most traumatic experience in education came in Colorado in 1999 when the infamous Columbine school shooting occurred.  He was teaching in the same district a half mile away.

From there, Paddock has now become an assistant principal where he can try and help students on a wider scale.

“I got tired of people making decisions that did not have the kids’ best interests in mind,” Paddock said. Discipline remains the least favorite part of his new job at Auburn.

“As an administrator, It is not easy to build relationships,” he said, “when all you are dealing with is students in trouble.  I try to understand what they are going through, and what they have been through.  I honestly try my best to listen to their side of the story.”