Dr. John Schwartz, holder of five degrees from Doane, named Norris Superintendent
Dr. John Schwartz ’02, ’05E, ’08E, ’14E, ’18DE has done just about everything possible to prepare himself to be a leader and administrator in education.
Schwartz has five degrees from Doane University, completing nearly every program offered in the College of Education. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Doane in Social Science in 2002, earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 2005, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership in 2008, an Educational Specialist degree in 2014, and in 2018, he was a part of the first ever cohort of graduates in Doane’s Doctorate of Education program.
To say he believes in Doane and its education programs would be an understatement.
“All of my experiences at Doane have been valuable,” Schwartz says. “Doane’s approach to preparing teachers and administrators is unique and authentic. One of the great things, in particular, about Doane’s graduate education programs is that they are cohort models. The relationships you build with your classmates are deep, meaningful relationships and as you progress in your career, these become great colleagues you reach out to for advice and support.”
Schwartz’s impressive educational background, coupled with his professional experience in education in Nebraska, recently earned him the opportunity to be named new Superintendent of Norris School District, a role that he will fully transition into on July 1, 2019. Currently, Schwartz is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Papillion La Vista Community Schools.
“I’m really excited to become the superintendent at Norris,” Schwartz says. “It’s one of the premier school districts in Nebraska. I look forward to getting to serve alongside staff, students, and the Board of Education.”
Being named superintendent at Norris culminates a steady rise in education for Schwartz since earning his undergraduate degree from Doane in 2002. He first spent eight years with Bellevue Public Schools, transitioning from Social Studies teacher at Bellevue West High School to Dean of Students at Bellevue East High School to Director of Secondary Education.
In 2010, Schwartz was named Assistant Principal at Papillion La Vista High School, a role that he served in for four years. In 2013, he was named High School Principal at Seward Public Schools and in 2015, he was named Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Papillion La Vista.
Originally from Waverly, Nebraska, Schwartz has strong roots in Nebraska and looks forward to living closer to both sets of grandparents for his two children. His Doane roots are obvious, but they stretch beyond just himself.
Doane is where he met his wife Laura Forster Schwartz ’03 and the two have both served on Doane’s Alumni Council for the past six years. Schwartz’s mom, Gina Larson ’99L, is a Doane graduate and teaches courses at Doane’s Lincoln campus. His sister, Kellie Schwartz ’04, is a Doane graduate. And Schwartz teaches education courses himself, serving as an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership program.
“Doane isn’t just a place where you go to earn a degree,” he says. “Because of the relationships you build and the positive experiences you have, it takes on a special meaning to those that have been a part of the Doane experience.”
When Schwartz earned his Doctorate of Education degree from Doane last spring, he said it was a “great but surreal feeling” to be done with this phase of his educational journey.
“It took awhile for me to appreciate being done,” he says. “It’s something to take pride in personally, but more importantly it models the value of continuing education for our two children.”
“For me, there has been an intangible benefit to Doane being such a big part of my personal and professional life. It was an honor to be the first to defend my dissertation in the new doctoral program. I learned alongside some of the best educators in Nebraska while completing the program. I’m really proud to have those connections with Doane and to have the experiences at the university that I’ve had.”
Although Schwartz won’t officially begin his role as Superintendent of Norris School District until July 1, he has worked with Dr. John Skretta, the current superintendent, to transition into the role. Skretta will become Chief Administrator of Educational Service Unit 6 in Milford. Skretta has Doane ties himself, as someone who is an adjunct professor in the Educational Specialist program at Doane.
Norris’ school district is comprised of roughly 2,500 students but it is a population that is growing. Norris has two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.
“Norris’ size is great,” Schwartz says. “It’s big enough to provide all the opportunities of a larger district yet it’s small enough that you get the family and community-like feel of a smaller school. That sense of community is one thing that makes the Norris School District so special.”
For more information on Schwartz joining the Norris School District as Superintendent, visit here.