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Swan takes helm at DES; Education is in his blood
PERU- Charlie Swan remembers growing up running through the halls of Peru Elementary School while his mother, Betty Swan, graded papers in her second grade classroom. With a family full of educators, Swan banters that he was genetically bound to be an educator.
In 1995, Swan graduated from Dirigo High School and attended Easter College, now Eastern University in St. Davids PA, just outside of Philadelphia, receiving a degree in history. He then enhanced his education and enrolled in Eastern's Masters Program and graduated with a Masters in Multicultural Education, thus serving some time student teaching in South Korea, where he met his wife. Wanting to further his education, Swan went on to get his masters degree from the University of Phoenix in school administration. He spent some time substitute teaching in PA, Missouri, South Korea and Maine.
In 2007 Swan was hired as Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at his alma mater, where he has been for the last four years. And, this fall he will be filling the shoes of Kathy Richards at Dirigo Elementary School, following her retirement this past spring.
When asked how he hopes to build on the foundation that Richards and her staff set at the newly-merged school, Swan noted, “I have to say that I am extremely grateful for the many hours Kathy put in before she retired to help me transition into this position smoothly,” noted Swan. “Kathy and the entire staff have been extremely busy over the past couple of years; implementing many new initiatives (a new k-5 math program, the establishment of a leadership team, the implementation of PBIS, a new literacy-focused master schedule, and much more. We as a school now need to continue to monitor all of these initiatives and assess their value to our school goals and our students' needs. What our school and staff need right now is the opportunity to apply what we have learned and evaluate the effectiveness of what we are currently doing.”
Swan noted that his patient and easy-going personality will help him integrate into the team at DES and his sense of humor and drive to work will keep things light.
“I believe that these qualities along with my general passion for education will help me fit in well at DES. I already know many of the staff members at the school and I know that I am very fortunate to be working with such a dedicated and talented group of professionals.”
As for Swan's family history, it might be helpful and, in a way comforting to know that he comes from a long line of compassionate educators.
His grandmother, Doris Berry taught at Peru, along with his mother, Betty Swan. His aunt Adelia Thurston taught many years in Peru, as well as his uncle Dexter Berry in Peru and Rumford. Swan's sister Brenda Gammon taught in Peru, and is now the director at Region 9 in Mexico. His sister, Jennifer taught in Peru and Mountain Valley and is now the guidance counselor at DHS. Another sister, Debbie, used to be the social worker for Gray/New Gloucester middle school and is not working in an international school in Spain. And, still another sister, Donna, works for the community college system in Augusta.
You may think it stops there, but to continue the family tree, Swan will now be working right along side of his niece, Crystal Duguay, who is the assistant principal/guidance counselor at DES. Swan has another niece, Julie Gammon, who is a bus driver/custodian for RSU 10 and let's not forget his wife, who is the district-wide evaluator.
Swan noted, “I often comment that when trying to decide what I was going to do when I grew up I never really had a choice because education seems to be genetically linked in our family.”
He remembers spending more time in the halls of PES, even though he attended Dixfield Elementary, decorating the walls with the jungle theme that most students remember.
As for experiences recalled over his first years of teaching, Swan reminisced, “My first substituting experience was a three-week stint for my sister Brenda at Peru Elementary. The kids I had during that time graduated from the high school a couple of years ago, that was incredible to have worked with them in grade 2 and then I was their asst. principal/ad when they were in high school.”
If anyone can say that their family inspired them to become what they are, Swan is that man.
“My family was definitely an inspiration for my motivation to become an educator. I knew both the frustrations and the rewards associated with being an educator long before I knew that it was what I would eventually become. Like I said before, in our family it seems to be a genetic thing.”
Being a young principal of a young school, this reporter asked Swan how he feels about his new position, “I just want to express that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given to work at DES. I know that I have a lot to learn about my new position, but I have incredible support in my building, in the central office, and across the RSU 10 district.”