Kennedy High School has hired its fourth principal in five years.

Although Craig Swanson’s official start date is Aug. 4, he can already be seen around the Mount Angel high school campus, organizing and getting things ready for the upcoming school year.

“There’s plenty to do,” he said. “There are quite a few changes with the staff so it will be exciting times.”

The district is adding back a part-time art teaching position and a part-time band position at the high school, as well as a new Spanish teaching position. The school will also get a new social studies teacher, as the previous one by: SUBMITTED - Craig Swanson has been hired to be John F. Kennedy High School's new principal.has gone to Cottage Grove as an assistant principal, and a new counselor in Jake Copley, who is replacing retiree Carol McKenna.

Swanson replaces Debi Brazelton, who spent the last two of her five years in the district as Kennedy’s principal before getting a job as part of Stayton High School’s administrative team.

Swanson hails from Salem, having spent the last two years as assistant principal and athletic director of Sprague High School.

But he was a teacher for 15 years before that, working at schools in Scio, Portland, Myrtle Creek and Albany, the latter of which is also his hometown. But he said he’s always been drawn to Mount Angel.

“It’s a great community, it’s beautiful out here,” he said. “When I looked up some principal positions, I was just intrigued by what I knew about Mount Angel. I looked further into it and have been impressed with the high school and leadership from Superintendent (Troy) Stoops. Passing a $10 million bond just shows the unwavering support from the community for the school system. The more I look into it, the more excited I am. I’m really thankful and humbled to be here.”

While he’s impressed with the town, he will still live in Salem — for now, anyway. He and his wife, Janelle, an elementary teacher in Albany, recently moved to Salem and don’t want to once again uproot their young daughters, Madison and Caitlin.

“We’ll look at it though,” he said. “I’m definitely impressed with Mount Angel.”

Swanson also has coaching experience, having led girls basketball, cross country and track and field teams.

“I definitely believe in what extracurricular activities can do to aid the development in the classroom,” he said. “I’ll definitely take an active role in that. (Kennedy is) fortunate to have Kevin Moffatt as AD.”

Superintendent Troy Stoops said the district heard from nearly 20 applicants, six of which were interviewed.

“We were obviously looking for the best fit and at the end, there was no question who the top candidate was,” Stoops said. “Craig is ready for his own building and to provide his own leadership. He has a lot of energy.”

Swanson is humbled by and excited for the opportunity.

“I’m just thankful for the experiences I’ve had in my career, being around great leaders,” he said. “My biggest priority now is to do as many things as I can so when everyone comes back we can work well together to develop a culture that helps student achievement at all times.”

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