One master’s degree, three states, seven schools and 39 years later, Swisher can confidently say the classroom is right where she belonged.
“I used to tell my father — a middle school principal — that there was no way anyone would trap me in a room with 30 howling children. But after my first two years teaching and my master’s degree, I knew there was nothing else in the world I could be. From the bottom of my soul, I’m a teacher,” Swisher said.
Though her days of teaching English and literature may be drawing to a close, Swisher’s experiences in the classroom continue to form her understanding of herself and fuel her deepest convictions and commitments.
Following her retirement later this month, Swisher plans to volunteer with students at Bridges and also work with parents on “framing their story” to legislators concerning recent education reforms.
“I teach reading for pleasure, it’s an elective for ninth- to 12-graders so I have kids with every kind of learning disability to high-achieving AP students,” Swisher said. “I watch how adults try to marginalize teens, and I really don’t like the way many adults look at kids. I feel strongly that kids are brilliant and are compartmentalized or boiled down to a number on a test. It’s my mission to show kids and the rest of the world how brilliant they are by motivating them to make the right choices.”