Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) recently named Dr. JoAnn Schwarting as the district’s 2021 Principal of the Year. Dr. Schwarting started in DVUSD in 2005 and is in her fifth year at Desert Mountain School as the principal. During this past year, Dr. Schwarting helped both district and campus administrators have a successful year despite the challenges that COVID-19 presented. For example, she helped co-create effective plans for COVID-19 mitigation and supported the COVID-19 model school set-ups across the district.

When asked what it means to be a principal today, Dr. Schwarting says, “Principals today must have a collaborative spirit. As they collectively develop a vision of the school, they must also trust and support the community as they work toward meeting the vision. Being a principal today also means that you can develop and sustain trusting relationships with students, staff, parents, and community members. You have to be truly invested in the well-being of all you serve.”

One of Dr. Schwarting’s colleagues described her by saying, “JoAnn has been the resource of all resources to help us navigate teaching in our COVID world. Creating the document that we used to guide our decisions was just the beginning. Jo took every call and text from every principal and took the time to answer as if we had the most important question ever. She made us feel valued. She led with empathy when talking with schools who were struggling with anything and everything. She was a listening ear with a warm caring heart. There wasn’t a question that she didn’t follow up with if she didn’t know the answer. Without her leadership, kindness, problem-solving and calm attitude, I am certain that we would have been more stressed than we already were this past year.”

Dr. Gary Zehrbach, Deputy Superintendent of Administrative Leadership & Services, says, “Dr. Schwarting was instrumental in helping more than 30,000 students from the DVUSD community experience in-person school for most of the 2020-21 school year. Her leadership and efforts went above and beyond.”
“I am honored beyond belief,” says Dr. Schwarting. “The 2020-21 school year required unprecedented campus leadership, and there isn’t an administrator in the district that doesn’t deserve to be principal of the year this year. I am also profoundly thankful for the Desert Mountain staff. Because of the collaborative nature of our staff, their experience, and their willingness to do whatever it takes to serve our community and students, I was able to serve district-wide on the Return to School Safely committee. I am so proud to bring this award back to Desert Mountain School to share and honor this collective achievement!”

The DVUSD Principal of the Year Award has been sponsored by McCarthy Building Companies for the past several years.