Alumni Stories

Tracey Swiderski's (C’ 10) enthusiasm for classroom teaching began when she was a freshman at Principia College, finding her niche as an education major.

“I can honestly say that the Principia professors were my greatest role models for good teaching!” Tracey exclaims. “I loved observing them in the classroom and watching how they interacted with students.”

After graduating from Principia, Tracey found a teaching position at Berkeley Hall School, a co-educational independent PK-8 school in Los Angeles, California. She taught sixth grade for two years, and will teach second grade this fall. “The faculty and staff at Berkeley Hall are Christian Scientists, and having that foundation and support is so helpful. It is a wonderful learning environment with a great emphasis on character education.”

Tracey brought a surprizing amount and variety of teaching experience with her to Berkeley Hall, thanks to Principia’s program, which emphasizes in-class Department arranged student teaching positions for Tracey in different educational settings—at a science-oriented magnet school in St. Louis, a rural first grade classroom, and an independent PK-8 school that emphasizes experiential learning.

“I felt that the faculty really knew me, and gave so much support as I prepared for a teaching career,” Tracey reflects. “I also feel I learned a strong work ethic at Prin.”

Tracey served on the Howard House board, and thoroughly enjoyed planning house activities. She was also instrumental in gathering historical photos from Howard alums to represent the fun of dorm life on a commemorative wall in the staircase.

Eventually, Tracey hopes to further her study of early childhood reading and writing in graduate school. But, for now, she can’t wait to welcome her second graders into the classroom this fall.