Passionate Teachers
Focused Learning Environment
Responsive Students
Involved Parents

Swan School Mission

Swan School builds strong learners in an environment of academic excellence aligned with creativity and personal expression. We develop wise and compassionate leaders as an investment in everyone’s future.

About Swan School

We are located in a quiet residential neighborhood in Port Townsend, Washington, on school-owned grounds that include five classrooms, an ever-growing library, and a large grassy and wooded playground.

You will find this is a very special place for children and their parents. Our community offers a diverse program focusing on the talents and needs of your child. The holistic focus is both our heritage and our strength, which has been evolving since Swan School began in 1983.

Learn more about Swan School >>

Events & Announcements

Staff Spotlight: Karen Akins

Karen Akins

Teacher for Navigators’ Class (Grades 2 & 3)

Karen Akins

Karen volunteering in Mexico

Karen began her time at Swan School as the Spanish teacher in 1999 and began as a classroom teacher in 2004.

Before teaching at Swan she lived in San Francisco for 12 years and enjoyed working with children in Raphael House, an emergency shelter for families. She interacted daily with resident families and ran an evening program for the children using storytelling as a basis for drama, music, and art activities. For the last three years of her time at Raphael House, she taught first and second grade in a private school housed in the shelter.

Karen holds a B.A. from the University of Rochester and a Master’s in Teaching from City University. Ongoing professional development supports her commitment to meeting the diverse needs of all learners. Karen has lived for extended periods of time both in Rio Grande, Brazil and Madrid, Spain. During one summer she enjoyed building a house for a Mexican family with a group of people that included two of her three daughters. Of late she has been busy visiting family in Oregon, California, and on the east coast. This year initiates her “empty nest” and she plans to put to good use her trekking poles on hikes closer to home while also learning Greek (she speaks 5 other languages)!

Karen makes it a priority to provide a warm and stimulating atmosphere in which children fully participate in constructing their own learning. She fosters classroom community through shared experiences on field trips, through lively discussions, small group and whole class collaborative hands-on learning, and active educational games. By discovering and cultivating student strengths, Karen provides a scaffold from which children can challenge themselves and take risks on the road to mastery.

Karen frequently gets visits from alumni who are always treated to a warm smile and fond memories!

Staff Spotlight: Marcy Stewart

Marcy Stewart

Teacher for Explorers’ Class (Kindergarten & 1st grades)

Marcy Stewart

Marcy tending her bees

A teacher at Swan since 2002, Marcy Stewart has worked with children since 1975.  Initially as the first children’s librarian at Ketchikan Public Library in Alaska, she went on to teach 3, 4 and 5 year-olds for 14 years in Port Townsend’s Head Start program. Marcy is certified in the state of Washington with endorsements as both a classroom teacher and as a school librarian. She has a BA in English, a Master of Library Science degree, and an Associate degree in Child Development.

Marcy came to Port Townsend from Southeast Alaska, where she lived on a float house, fished commercially with her husband, and made a strong and lasting relationship with the natural world and its cycles. While working in the Ketchikan Public Library, Marcy produced a daily children’s radio program that was enjoyed by children and adults alike. In addition to being the teacher of the Explorer Program at Swan School, Marcy has taught fiber arts, violin to adults and to children, is a member of the Port Townsend Community Orchestra and the Lincoln Beach Quartet, has worked for Centrum as a Future Problem Solving evaluator, and served on the Boiler Room board. She has recently become a member of the Chimacum Grange Beekeepers, with 2 hives of honeybees at her home along with a flock of chickens and her beloved cats. Marcy is also an avid amateur mycophagist!

Marcy’s background and professional training help her provide rich child-centered classroom experiences that foster a strong community learning environment and engage students in the exciting and empowering process of learning.  Marcy’s frequent visits from former students attest to the lifelong connections made in her class. As one Explorer alumna recently reminisced, “I loved being in Marcy’s class – we got to bake cakes from scratch, learn to read, and had lots of fun during choosing time!”

Staff Spotlight: Dana Weir

Dana Weir

Teacher for Discoverers’ Class (Preschool) & Art Teacher


Dana with her cat Isis

Dana’s formal education reflects her diverse interests and passions. She completed her BA in Art at Pacific University in 1997, and obtained an interdisciplinary master’s degree, focusing on Spiritual Traditions and Ethics, from Marylhurst University in 2005. Dana is fascinated by the way in which artists from various cultures represent spiritual experience.

Dana moved to Port Townsend with her husband, Brian, in August of 2010 and began working with students at Swan School that same year. Prior to teaching at Swan, Dana spent nine years in Portland, Oregon, working as a nanny, preschool teacher, and art instructor. She taught a wide variety of art classes and camps for preschool and K-6 students at the Multnomah Art Center. She also taught preschool at The Marylhurst School, a highly regarded early childhood center that emphasizes experiential learning, artistic self-expression, and emotional intelligence.

When she is not teaching or creating art, Dana loves to explore the Pacific Northwest, in both urban and wild environments. Dana and Brian can often be found hiking around the peninsula, or making a pilgrimage to the Seattle Art Museum.

Swan School is very lucky to have Dana with us to teach both preschool and art, she is amazingly proficient at both.  One of her art students recently stated, “I love Dana, she is nice, great at art, and she is a great friend too!” And we are certain that her preschool students agree.

A healthy preschool lunch