Dr. JoAnn Schwarting has been named the new Principal of Desert Mountain School. Dr. Schwarting has had the honor of working as an educator in the Deer Valley Unified School District for 11 years. She taught seventh-grade English language arts at Desert Mountain School where she was able to share her passion for literature and writing with students. She then moved into an instructional coaching role at Desert Sky Middle School where she had the great fortune to work alongside many amazing teachers, administrators, and support staff. After two years as an Instructional coach, she became the assistant principal at Desert Sky and served there for the past two years.

Her primary goal as a new principal to the campus is to clearly identify the needs of staff, students, and community. Additionally, Dr. Schwarting will continue the work of ensuring that all students have access to a rich and supportive learning environment that will allow them to achieve high levels of academic and socio-emotional growth.

Q&A with Desert Mountain Principal Dr. JoAnn Schwarting

What is the most important lesson being an educator has taught you?
The most important lesson I’ve learned as an educator is that it really does take a village to raise a child. Creating relationships with everyone, including community members, involved in our children’s’ lives is a critical component of educating them. Without this collaborative effort, we limit a child’s exposure to the power of dreaming and to the wonder of exploring and analyzing the world they live in.

What advice would you give a parent to help his/her child be successful in school?
Encourage curiosity and exploration, read often, answer a question with a question, expect and allow failure – that’s how we truly learn. Above all, teach, model, and expect your child to persevere through times of frustration and anxiety. As Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth found, the one characteristic that emerged as a significant predictor of success was not IQ, good looks, social intelligence, or physical health. It was “Grit”: the ability and stamina to persevere day-in and day out to turn your goals into reality.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?
As a child I often related my experiences with people and places to my dreams of possible careers. For example, there was a small bakery in the town I grew up in. I loved visiting the bakery with my Grandfather and eating a warm fritter while he visited with friends. I absolutely knew for sure that I was going to grow up to be a baker – until a week later when I visited a nursery in full bloom and decided I was going to be a gardener. During the Winter Olympics I was going to grow up to be an ice skater; when the hotshot crews came to fight the wildfires I was going to grow up to be a fireman. Sometime during my young adulthood I discovered that what I loved doing most was helping people. My entire adult life has been in service of others and in my wildest childhood dreams I could not have imagined a more fulfilling career.