Alexis Swierc teaches special education at Mt. Juliet Elementary School, where she has been for nearly five years. She and her family moved from New York in 2010, but previously taught special education there for 10 years.
Swierc received a degree in sociology from Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, as well as a concentration in an elementary and special education. She also received a master’s degree in literacy education.
After getting her degree, she started working in a special education program at a middle school in New York, which she said was eye opening.
“It made me realize that there are so many kids that get lost in the education shuffle that really need somebody who is able to work at their level, make learning fun for them and not a huge frustration,” she said.
After moving to Tennessee for her husband’s work, she stayed at home with her children, but went back to teaching when a spot opened up at MJE. All three of her children currently attend the school as well.
Swierc said she was made to be a teacher. When she was younger and her school was out, she would even help her grandmother who taught second grade in another district.
“I never saw myself doing anything else,” she said. “I enjoy working with kids, I enjoy seeing them get excited when they finally figure out how to do something … it gives me purpose.”
“When you teach someone to read, even the smallest word, you’re really changing their whole life outcome, which I think is pretty cool,” she said.
Since she returned to teaching, Swierc said MJE has been a perfect fit.
“Everyone I work with, even when I first started, they were very welcoming,” she said. “We all get along well with each other, we share ideas, we share frustrations.”
She also said that sharing strategies with each other offers a new perspective on how best to reach students.
Swierc was overwhelmed when she learned she was chosen MJE’s Teacher of the Year.
“I’m grateful for being nominated … it’s very nice to know that my efforts are appreciated by my staff.”
“I enjoy working with the kids,” Swierc said. “It’s where I’m meant to be.”