‘I am extremely grateful for this opportunity’
By Holly Jenkins
Special to the Rappahannock News
Jimmy Swindler, the Rappahannock News’ 2017 Citizen of the Year, has a new title: Rappahannock County High School Principal.
The RCHS “Class of 1978” alumnus — and valedictorian — launched his career in education at Rappahannock County Elementary School in 2001 as a 6th grade history and reading teacher.
Over the last 17 years, he has served in various roles within the school system: Coach, RCHS World History Teacher, Athletic Director, Director of Facilities, Hearing Officer, Career and Technical Education Director, and RCHS Assistant Principal.
Swindler, who is known for his outgoing personality and energetic smile, is both grateful and excited for the new opportunity.
After receiving a resignation letter from RCHS Principal Karen Ellis, who accepted another leadership position in Culpeper County Public Schools, the principal position was opened as an internal vacancy to allow current faculty the opportunity to apply.
A large interview committee, comprised of teachers from each department in the high school, leadership and support staff, and parents, took on the rigorous task of interviewing all candidates. The interview committee had the option of recommending a candidate or opening the search to external candidates if necessary. After completing the internal interviews, the committee unanimously decided to recommend Swindler for the position of RCHS principal.
According to Schools Superintendent Dr. Shannon Grimsley, “The unanimous decision of the interview team affirmed my confidence in Mr. Swindler to become the next leader of the high school. His support for the students, enthusiasm for education, roots in Rappahannock, and passion for the profession make him an ideal candidate.
“Mr. Swindler brings experience and energy that will undoubtedly propel Rappahannock County High School to the next level. I look forward to all the great things that will happen next year as a result of Jimmy’s leadership.”
Indeed, Swindler has big plans for the upcoming school year.
“I want to focus on our school culture and climate,” he says. “I believe we already have a positive culture, but I’m excited and determined to see us get to the next level.”
Swindler also eagerly shares his goal to further promote school pride and community within the hallways: “The more you make your school a place students want to be, the more they will want to be there, which will improve both attendance and learning.”
Forming meaningful relationships is a big part of school culture, which is something Swindler takes great pride in. Whether it’s with students, staff, stakeholders, or the community in general, Jimmy is focused on creating positive relationships with everyone that crosses his path.
“We are fortunate that we have incredible support from the community,” says the new principal. “And a big part of that is attributed to the relationships we have formed with our stakeholders.”
In addition, he makes a point to form as many positive relationships as possible with his high school students by being an instructional leader in the classrooms, a constant presence in the hallways and during each lunch shift at the high school, and an avid fan at many if not most of RCHS’ after school events.
Swindler was quick to point out his gratitude for being given the chance to serve in this new role. “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. It’s been 40 years since I graduated from this very school. RCHS did a lot for me and it’s another opportunity for me to give back, something I hope to be able to do for many years to come.”