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Spokane Public Schools board expected to approve three-year contract for Superintendent Swinyard

UPDATED: Tue., June 22, 2021

Swinyard  (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Swinyard (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

It’s been quite an inaugural year for Adam Swinyard, the Superintendent of Spokane Public Schools.

Since his appointment less than a year ago, the 38-year-old has led the district through the COVID-19 pandemic, sweeping boundary changes, the stadium controversy and other issues.

“Uncharted waters,” Swinyard called it recently.

Jerrall Haynes, the school board president, believes Swinyard navigated them quite well.

“I was very optimistic last summer, and he exceeded even my expectations,” Haynes said. “We faced an absurd amount of challenges. As a board, we are more than confident in Adam as we move forward.”

That confidence is expressed in a proposed three-year contract that would pay Swinyard $239,700 annually.

The contract is part of the consent agenda at Wednesday night’s board of directors meeting.

Formerly an associate superintendent in charge of curriculum, Swinyard was promoted last summer to replace Shelley Redinger, who left to become superintendent in Richland.

At that time, Swinyard was given a one-year contract with a base salary of $235,000.

Recalling the uncertainties over learning models amid the pandemic, Haynes said he was impressed with Swinyard’s “ability to clearly articulate the direction the district is moving in a caring way that brings people with opposing philosophical ideas together.”

Swinyard leads the third largest district in the state, but his base salary would rank only 37th on a list compiled in the 2019-20 school year by the Washington Citizens’ Committee on Salaries for Elected Officials.

According to the proposed contract, Swinyard also would receive a tax-sheltered annuity – taken from his salary – of 6% to 14% of his base salary.

The contract also calls for Swinyard to receive 28 vacation days, 12 days of sick leave per year and $250 per month for operation of his personal automobile for work-related travel.

A native of Deer Park, Swinyard earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education and played basketball at Northwest University, a private Christian college in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland.

After graduating in 2005, he was an elementary specialist in the Lake Washington School District, then a social studies and English teacher at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish County.

At the same time, Swinyard was an assistant basketball coach at Northwest and later at Seattle Pacific University, where he earned a doctorate in educational leadership and administration.

By then, Swinyard was back in Eastern Washington – “My heart is in Spokane,” he said last year – and was an administrator at three different middle schools.

An assistant at Garry from 2009-11 and Cheney from 2011-13, Swinyard was principal at Sacajawea from 2013-16.

After six months as Spokane’s director of secondary education, Swinyard moved into the associate superintendent’s position the following year.

“We’re fortunate to have him,” Haynes said. “His leadership is going to shape the future of Spokane for a long time to come.”

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