Former Washoe Principal Named NV Elementary Principal of the Year

Richard Swanberg, courtesy Washoe County School District
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Reno, NV – The Nevada affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals has named a former principal at Kate Smith Elementary School as Distinguished Principal of the Year for Nevada. This is the second state-level recognition for a Washoe County school principal this year.

“Being selected as the Elementary School Principal of the Year for Nevada is a great honor that I share with my family, staff, and colleagues,” says Richard Swanberg. “Without their support over the last two decades, this accomplishment would not have been possible. I would like to thank all the wonderful students and families at Kate Smith Elementary School. It was a pleasure to watch so many students flourish during the past six years.”

“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Richard as a colleague in Title I schools and most recently as the area superintendent for Kate Smith,” says WCSD administrator Chad Hicks. “His moral purpose has always been to establish a school in which children thrive academically, where the gap between high and low performance is greatly diminished. He is a very strategic school leader who is not afraid to challenge the status quo to ensure students are maximizing individual potential that will prepare them to be successful lifelong learners.”

Richard Swanberg began his career with the Washoe County School District (WCSD) 23 years ago as a sixth-grade teacher at Hidden Valley Elementary School. After a decade in the classroom, teaching five grade levels, he was hired as the assistant principal at Libby Booth Elementary School. In 2001, Swanberg became the principal at Alice Maxwell Elementary School in Sparks. Upon his departure six years later, Maxwell Elementary School was recognized by WCSD as a Distinguished Title I school.

The same year, Swanberg transferred to Kate Smith Elementary School, which was designated “In Need of Improvement.” The majority of students attending Kate Smith lived in poverty, were students of color, and were current or former English language learners. In 2012, Kate Smith was recognized by the State of Nevada as a Title I Distinguished School and a Title I Reward School.

Swanberg earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University, Chico, his teaching certificate from Chapman University, and his Master of Arts in Education degree from the University of Phoenix. In his limited free time, he likes to spend time with his wife and three daughters, travel across the U.S., and read historical fiction novels.

Earlier this year, he was named an area superintendent at WCSD and will assume his new role in the fall.