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Purcell OK Education

5 questions with Tina Swayze


Editor’s note: Answering  The Purcell Register’s five questions this week is Tina Swayze, principal at Purcell Intermediate School.

Q: You left the district for a time and then came back. Why?

A: I retired in 2015. I have always been one to try new things. When I began teaching, I tried a variety of assignments that involved different grade levels and different subjects –  coached cheer and basketball, and eventually landed in administration.

Upon retirement, I explored selling insurance and running for a political office. I was an insurance salesman for three years. During that same time I ran for the House of Representatives. I didn’t make it out of the primaries, but met some amazing people in both those avenues and may someday pursue those again.

However there was something in me that always missed school during those three years.

In August 2018, I was scrolling through Twitter and saw where Mr. Midkiff was asking if anyone was interested in coming on board as the principal of Purcell Intermediate. I immediately reached out to him. I am very grateful to Mr. Midkiff for the opportunity to be back in school. This was a blessing from God to rejoin the students and staff at Purcell Schools, a place I love.

Q: What attracts you to the intermediate school level?

A: This age group is full of excitement and energy! In upper elementary, school spirit is born – they scream and cheer with body and soul. There’s nothing like a pep rally or dance day in the Intermediate. 

Also at this level, communication, collaboration and problem solving finds its complexity. The growth and success during this time brings much satisfaction. This is the age that state level assessments begin.

We all have skin in the game,  so it is a great opportunity to capture their excitement and energy and transfer it into learning. What an amazing place to be!

Q: Are any two days ever alike?

A: No. They are only alike in how they are each unique, and that is why I love this job.

Q: How do you keep parents engaged?

A: I have been in this community for over 30 years. The parental engagement and school support is outstanding!

One of the most important steps in continuing strong parent engagement is through communication. Each site in Purcell Schools works hard to provide a variety of ways to keep the line of communication open. Some examples are our district website, social media, communication apps and newsletters.

Q: What would your  career choice have been if not education?

A: Education is the career choice for me. It is my “happy place!”


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