Behavior modeling, servant leadership and active listening are the foundation of Brad Swofford’s professional and personal endeavors.
As assistant superintendent for Branson Public Schools, Swofford has ample opportunity to apply the ideals through his interactions with faculty, staff and the 4,574 students currently enrolled in the Branson R-4 School District. He says his greatest satisfaction comes when the ripple effects of this ethic trickle back to him.
“It has been extremely rewarding to see former students who are now having a great impact in education,” he says.
Since beginning his career in 1995 as a Branson teacher and coach, Swofford’s experience has included leadership roles as assistant and then principal of Branson Junior High. Concurrent with that position, he completed his Ph.D in educational leadership in 2003 from the University of Arkansas.
While he was pursuing his doctorate, the district was reaching critical mass from decades-long growing pains. Averaging around 4 percent annual growth, the Branson school-age population had doubled since the 1980s. After becoming the assistant superintendent in 2009, the issues were front and center for Swofford from day one. The districts’ ambitious solution culminated in the April 2011 passage of a bond initiative paving the way for much-needed expansion. Swofford says he has been integrally involved with everything from redrawing the district boundaries to building configuration.
As the 2013-14 school year kicks off, the district is putting the finishing touches on more than $40 million in construction projects funded by the 2011 voter approval, including a new elementary-school building, student activity center, ninth-grade center and administrative offices. The transition included classroom changes for nearly all of the district’s 225 elementary teachers and relocating approximately half of the 2,500 elementary students to the new facility.
Swofford says the experience has been invaluable, noting the high level of buy-in necessary for a smooth transition, from districtwide voter approval of the bond measure to maintaining a positive climate for change within the ranks of the district’s 626 faculty, staff and administrators.
“This massive transition plan has been successful thanks to strategic communication,” Swofford says. “It is all due to the trust and confidence that the faculty has placed in our leadership team.”
Outside district offices, Swofford maintains an equally busy life as a husband and father of three children younger than 10. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor at Lindenwood University and gives time to numerous civic organizations. Swofford is on the Branson’s Chamber of Commerce and Economic Advisory Council board, serves on the grant-making panel of the Taney County Foundation Board and is a Branson/Hollister Rotary Club member.
But it is his time spent volunteering in the children’s safety program at his church James River Assembly that he says has truly coalesced his belief in the transformative power of service.
“Being a volunteer is one of the truest forms of understanding your influence,” he says. “I’m grateful for the ability to have an impact on the children that I serve and the people around me.”[[In-content Ad]]