From the Miami Herald:
For students and teachers at Pinecrest Elementary, June 5 was just the end of another school year. For principal Valerie Swanson, it was the end of a career that spans four decades.
Swanson, 62, started with the district 41 years ago as a teacher at Henry M. Flagler Elementary School in Flagami. She later taught at Coral Reef Elementary for 22 years before being named the assistant principal there.
Then she became principal at Kenwood Elementary in 1996, where she was for five years before coming in 2001 to Pinecrest, which has been the county’s only A-rated elementary school each year since the rating system was formed nine years ago.
”I find her to be one of the most efficient, no-nonsense administrators I have ever dealt with,” said Natalie Lemos, the PTA president for the past two years. ”She is very fair-minded and never allows herself to be swayed for the wrong reasons. She makes the right decisions . . . even if it isn’t always the most popular.”
”She gives 100 percent of herself to ensure the best for our children — the best facilities, faculty and materials,” Lemos added, remembering how Swanson handled the disruptions during the construction of the school’s new annex in 2006.
”She demanded excellence during the construction and was relentless in securing it.”
It’s people like Ms. Swanson that make me proud to be in the education profession, and also make me strive to do whatever it takes to help them.