Regional representative and adjunct consultant for the Michigan
Association of School Boards Penny Swanson, ’72 and ’82, has been
contributing to the school system since her first days as a teacher
for the Allendale Public Schools. After graduating from Grand Valley
State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and history,
Swanson taught at Allendale public schools until 1979 when she became
community education director for the district. During this
appointment, she also worked as an advisor and liaison for Governor
Milliken’s Office in 1981. During the three month internship, she
reviewed proposed legislation in the area of K-12 and higher
education, researched the information for the Governor’s speaking
engagements, and represented the Executive Office at Legislative
In 1982, Swanson returned to Grand Valley to earn her M.A. in education administration. Since then, she has been superintendent for several of Michigan’s schools districts as well as a key member of the executive team for Edison Schools in New York. Her time in Michigan has led to the implementation of a K-5 Spanish program, reading recovery programs, A.P. programs, as well as meeting No Child Left Behind progress goals and spearheading a restructuring that led to more instructional time for core subjects.
Swanson was appointed to Michigan Association of School Boards in 2005 where she continues to share her experiences and expertise in professional development, superintendent searches, and labor relations.
She currently lives in Crystal, Michigan with her husband. The couple has four children and four grandchildren.