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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.

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!

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