Volunteer of the Month for January Chris Swinko was working as a paralegal but recently switched career paths to pursue teaching, which, as far as we can tell, is his true calling. Currently, aside from tutoring once a week and being a major part of our In-School Residency Program — he’s at Erickson Elementary four days a week and Chapelle Elementary one day a week — he’s also a substitute teacher. Furthermore, he’s happy to be leader of the Official In-school Residency Program Carpool (and by “leader,” we mean the one who has the car and drives). Aaand he has a four-month son, an elementary-school-teacher wife, and one of the most positive, can-do attitudes we’ve ever encountered.
Chris doesn’t do things half-way, he does them ALL THE WAY, in CAPS LOCK, and with piles of passion to boot. We have learned, for example, that there is a certain brand of yogurt that Plum Market carries that he loves. When this yogurt is in stock, he doesn’t grab a handful, he doesn’t even load up both arms, he will fill up an entire cart with the yogurt.
Our in-schools intern, Kat, works with him most often, and she emailed us this little gem of an anecdote:
A great instant that shows Chris Swinko was when he was giving a ride to Adrienne and I one Thursday morning, and we were having a conversation, and suddenly he offered: “Toothpick?” to both of us. Since none of us had been eating, I was caught off-guard. But they were mint or green-tea flavored breath freshening toothpicks. At first I declined, but then gave in to my curiosity, and I must say, I did enjoy the toothpick! (Though I couldn’t talk with it in my mouth, it just didn’t feel natural.) Oh, he also reads science magazines for fun.
Every single teacher whose classroom he works in on our behalf RAVES about him. Is there a word stronger than “raves” in this context? If there is, that’s the one we’d like to use.
Chris: You are going to make a wonderful teacher. We wish we could go back in time to be your students. Thank you, thank you for everything you do for us!