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Swor has been principal of the Bloomington elementary school for 21 years. She admits to being a workaholic, and under different circumstances she might very well be planning for a 22nd year at the west Bloomington school, but there are no signs of regret as she talks about ending her 40 year career in education.

Swor spent the first 15 years of her career as an elementary school teacher in Fridley after earning her undergraduate degree in education and psychology from Hamline, where she met her husband Michael. She earned her doctorate from the University of Minnesota and served two years each as an assistant principal at elementary schools in Northfield Nike Air Vapormax All White

Swor serves on several boards and Nike Vapormax Light Grey

She doesn't plan to spend her retirement whiling away the hours at the lake, although she does plan to spend extra time at the family's Lake Vermillion home this summer, given that the demands of Poplar Bridge won't be looming. Golfing and traveling to points near and far to visit her two daughters including a daughter living in Shanghai, China are also part of her retirement agenda.

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Nike Air Vapormax Plus Obsidian / Photo Blue / Black

For three students whose mothers have cancer, seeing their principal make her daily rounds through the Poplar Bridge hallways and talking to her about the effects of cancer has helped them cope with and comprehend the situation in their homes, according to Swor. "It wasn't so scary for them," she said.

"They know I care and they care about me," Swor said. "That's what I'm going to miss."

Swor was nominated by Washburn Elementary Principal Jon Millerhagen, who was named Minnesota's 2012 National Distinguished Principal last week.

"Cancer loves stress," she has been told. After spending a year juggling her cancer treatments and Poplar Bridge obligations, the time has come to step back and take care of her health, she explained.

"She has been a most extraordinary administrator," he said. "She developed a mutual vision for this building and has worked with the staff to see that vision come true."

has been asked to serve as president of the Hamline alumni board. She also wants to serve as a mentor to student teachers or upcoming principals, she noted.

Swor will wrap up her responsibilities at Poplar Bride June 22. Her final days will overlap with the tenure of her replacement, Steven Flucas.

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It isn't exactly the storybook ending she would have written, but when Gail Swor retires as principal of Poplar Bridge Elementary next month, she will have done so on her terms.

and Minneapolis before landing her job in Bloomington, where she knew several principals and the district's strong, positive reputation, she explained.

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Nike Air Vapormax Plus Obsidian / Photo Blue / Black

Nike Air Vapormax Plus Obsidian / Photo Blue / Black

She may finally be giving that up in retirement, but she plans to remain involved in education. "I'm not a stay at home person," she said.

Late last summer Swor was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Despite chemotherapy and radiation treatments during the past school year, she hasn't let cancer slow her down. She took an occasional day off during the past school year when chemotherapy treatments necessitated extra rest, but Swor has otherwise gone about her daily duties and district responsibilities as if it were any other year.

She continues to make regular rounds throughout the school, receiving enthusiastic greetings from students and making time to help students who Nike Air Vapormax Plus Obsidian / Photo Blue / Black need to bend her ear. "I love to counsel kids," she said. On a recent Friday she did just that, more than once. When she was young, you didn't see the principal unless you were in trouble, she noted.

Bloomington elementary school saying goodbye to longtime principal

In a career that has garnered recognition from local and state Nike Air Vapormax Mesh Black Men's Shoe

In meeting with leaders in education across the country, "it gave me a new appreciation for how strong the education program is in Minnesota," she said. "We are on the cutting edge of so many initiatives."

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He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois, and earned his K 12 principal licensure from the University of Minnesota, where he is working on a doctoral degree.

She may no longer teach in a classroom setting, but Swor has turned her cancer and treatments into a learning opportunity for students at Poplar Bridge. She started the school year last fall by sending a letter to parents, explaining that she had cancer and planned to continue working. Some parents talked about cancer with their children as a result of Swor's letter, she said.

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Nike Air Vapormax Plus Obsidian / Photo Blue / Black

Since her first day on the job, Poplar Bridge first grade teacher Brett Crumlett has seen them all, having preceded Swor by a year.

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organizations, as well as students and parents past and present, Swor is quick to identify a highlight of her career, being named a 2008 National Distinguished Principal. "The red carpet was truly rolled out for us," she said.

Last week a student was having a difficult time staying focused on his schoolwork, the result of issues at home. Rather than admonish the student for failing to perform well in the classroom, she talked about the issues the student was having at home, and how he could solve those, thereby reducing the stress he brought with him to school, she explained.

Flucas has been principal of Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School in St. Paul for the past two years. He has also served as an assistant principal at St. Paul's Linwood Monroe Arts Plus School and as a social worker in the Minneapolis and Chaska school systems.


Her health may have dictated the end of her tenure at Poplar Bridge, but having recently completed her cancer treatments, Swor shows no signs of slowing down.

After going to work at Poplar Bridge, her father would ask her when she was going to get promoted to a high school or take a district administrative job, but those opportunities never appealed to Swor because the personal contact with students diminishes at the secondary level. "All that personal contact with kids I could not give up," she said.

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