AVID Director Retiring After 20 Years Building Program


Joan Swim has worked tirelessly for 20 years to build RISD’s AVID program to where it is now – Berkner and Richardson are national demonstration schools, more than 5,500 students participate in the college readiness system, and Dell Scholar after Dell Scholar after Dell Scholar.

“Joan is a servant leader. She does everything for everyone with a smile on her face and joy in her heart. She always puts the person before the job, and builds relationships with her team, community, and students.” AVID Specialist Stefani Spoon said. “I wanted to work for AVID, because I wanted to learn from and work with Joan. I have seen her working with students to write speeches, transporting boxes and boxes of materials, and coaching and mentoring teachers to bring out their best selves. She is the first person you want to share your successes with.”

She started her RISD career 36 years ago in elementary schools , has worked with SPED students, and was an AVID teacher and coordinator before being tapped to be the district director for AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination. There are now AVID chapters at 30 RISD campuses, Berkner and RHS are AVID national demonstration schools, and RISD has 76 Dell Scholars since 2009.

“Joan speaks opportunity and future into everyone she meets,” Spoon said. “She sees the potential in every human. She is RISD greatness, and RISD is better because of her and her leadership. When you walk away from a conversation with her, you feel warm, confident and ready!”

Congratulations, Joan, and thank you. We are certain you are ready for the next chapter! #RISDGreatness

Tab Branum and Joan Swim
Interim Superintendent Tabitha Branum and AVID Director Joan Swim

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