Swiney excited about opportunity to lead Ravenswood High School
This isn’t exactly how Luke Swiney wanted to begin his educational career as a principal.
With COVID-19 around.
But he also knew becoming the lead principal of a high school would bring its share of challenges.
And he’s preparing for the 2020-21 school year with hope there will be normalcy at the end of the tunnel.
“I signed on the dotted line. Some people ask me if I’m nervous being a first-year principal, and the answer is 'yes,'" Swiney said. “But as I look at it, every other principal is new right now, as well, as we face something new (with the COVID situation).”
Despite the unprecedented challenges schools will be dealing with in 2020-21, Swiney is raring to go as he becomes the newest principal at Ravenswood High School.
He’s happy to see kids out and about doing things such as football workouts and band practices.
“What we’ve had to do is take an abundance of caution, and it was the right thing to do,” he said. “Seeing kids out running around (for football) and the small pods practicing band, socializing, and playing music has been very uplifting.”
Swiney first started teaching in 2012. He never thought this early in his career the word principal would be attached to his name, but excitement is plentiful for Swiney as he begins this chapter of his days in the education field.
“I’m a first-generation educator in my family. When I first got in it
I never ruled out administration,” he said. “But I wouldn’t say it was a goal. It wasn’t on my radar right away.
“But a lot of people inspired me to move further. A lot of people came into my life and talked that there was a little bit of need in the field.”
One of those individuals was Jimmy Frashier, who is now Ripley High’s first-year principal.
“That guy helped me immensely when I arrived at Ravenswood,” said Swiney, who was Frashier’s assistant for two years. “We developed a good professional relationship.”
Swiney graduated from Gallipolis-based Ohio Valley Christian in 2006 while living across the river in Gallipolis Ferry. He competed in soccer, basketball and track.
After high school, he attended Marshall University where he earned both a bachelor’s degree and then a masters. Swiney got his administration degree from Salem International.
He went back to his roots for that first teaching job, working at Spencer Middle in the 2012-13 school year.
Swiney’s parents, Ron and Libby, are graduates of old Walton High School.
“My dad played football at Walton for (Ravenswood coaching legend) Fred Taylor,” Swiney said.
He lived in the Roane County community of Chloe early on in his life and attended Elk Valley Christian. The family then moved to Calhoun County and he went to Brooksville Elementary. When the family headed to Gallipolis Ferry he was a student at Beale Elementary.
After one year at Spencer Middle, Swiney made his way to Ravenswood Middle as a teacher before making the move to administration.
Swiney and his wife, Ashley, have been married for eight years. She works as a paralegal for the Mason County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
While COVID-19 will certainly bring about changes this school year for Swiney and his staff, he feels very little will change elsewhere at Ravenswood High School.
“To be honest, there’s not much that really needs changed at Ravenswood. There’s a lot of good stuff that’s already happening. We just want to build on that and get better.
“Ravenswood High School has such a rich history with academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. My goal is just to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Swiney’s familiar face will help bring a calming influence as students and teachers make their return while also putting Ravenswood High in very capable hands.