By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Cherokee Central Schools has hired a new superintendent. Walter Swan, Jr. (Lakota), a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, is on board and ready to go.
Swan addressed Tribal Council on Thursday, Aug. 2, “I am very excited to be your superintendent and thank you for your support in my selection. I would also like to thank the School Board for their selection. I really am very honored to be of service to you as your superintendent.”
He outlined his three major goals for Cherokee Schools including:
* higher level of accountability
* higher expectations of students and staff
* increase college and career preparation
“It’s not only test scores, but making sure that your kids get the education that they deserve,” he said. “We would like to see a lot more kids to college.”
Swan praised the staff and said, “I can’t tell you how well they’ve welcomed me.”
“Everyone associated with BIE (Bureau of Indian Education) will tell you when talking about Cherokee, ‘They’re a good school’, and not much past that,” Swan said. “I want to make it a great school. I want to make sure that we’re putting out the best students in the region, if not the nation.”
Lori Blankenship, Cherokee School Board chairperson, said the Board worked with Swan while he was a line officer with the BIE. She said the Board was impressed with his record of service and achievement at schools in Indian Country including Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota.
In speaking about his successes at Red Cloud she related, “They are a small school, but they very successful. They have a 98 percent graduation rate and 99 percent of their students go on to college. That’s what we want for our students. Whether it’s college or career, we want them to be prepared.”
Swan received a bachelor’s of science degree in education with a composite major in social science from Black Hill State University and a master’s degree in education administration from Penn State University.
He has previously served as principal of the Ahfachkee School of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, a line officer for the BIE South and Eastern States Agency and a line officer for the Pine Ridge Agency in South Dakota.