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As Corbett Prep’s longest serving Head of School, Dr. Joyce Burick Swarzman established a model of professional development that inspired her own faculty and staff as well as thousands of educators worldwide to strive for excellence and keep students at the center of all they do.
The Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) honored Dr. Swarzman on Friday with the 2021 Edgar McCleary Service Award, a special recognition for a “teacher’s teacher” who has given generously of his or her time to further the mission of FCIS schools.
FCIS, the state accrediting organization for independent schools, created the award in 2011 to spotlight educators who go above and beyond in their service.
“Corbett is a very, very special place,” said Dr. Barbara Hodges, executive director of FCIS. “But it wasn’t just about Corbett.”
A commitment to teacher trainings
Throughout her career, Dr. Swarzman led professional development trainings for more than 20,000 teachers locally, nationally and internationally. She created the research-based M.O.R.E. Model (Multiple Options for Results in Education), a collection of strategies to create a brain-friendly environment for educating students, and she traveled to Spain and China to share those tactics with schools worldwide.
Her efforts produced great teachers, many of whom became great heads of school, Hodges said. And together they changed the lives of countless children.
“That’s what you do, Joyce Swarzman – you create magic,” Hodges said.
More than 1,000 people, including Dr. Swarzman and the entire Corbett Prep faculty and staff, watched the award presentation over Zoom during the final day of the FCIS annual convention.
Dr. Swarzman joined Corbett Prep – then Independent Day School – in 1996. A strong leader, energetic teacher and experienced trainer, Dr. Swarzman was the director of the University of South Florida’s Suncoast Area Teacher Training program. She made professional development a priority for IDS/Corbett Prep and hosted conferences in cooperative learning, social-emotional learning and brain-based communication.
In 2020, Corbett Prep welcomed Nicholas Rodriguez as its new Head of School, and Dr. Swarzman turned her focus to supporting initiatives and training. Rodriguez, who has two decades of experience in private and independent schools, honed his leadership skills during a yearlong fellowship with Dr. Swarzman.
Corbett Prep maintains its commitment to the dynamic learning community Dr. Swarzman established. Hodges said she looked forward to the ways Dr. Swarzman will continue to shape the lives of students and their teachers: “She joins the greatest of the greats, but she’s not finished yet.”
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