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Unalaska Superintendent Robbie Swint Jr. resigns

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Maggie Nelson
/
KUCB
The Unalaska school board accepted Swint's resignation Wednesday night. Unalaska High School Principal Jim Wilson will fill in for Swint, and Assistant Principal Ryan Humphrey will take over Wilson’s position as principal.

The superintendent of Unalaska’s schools, Robbie Swint Jr., has resigned.

The school board accepted his resignation in a unanimous vote at a meeting Wednesday night.

According to a statement from the board, Swint is moving off the island to be closer to his family.

Swint said he is sorry that he won’t be fulfilling his commitment to the district. He was just over a year into his three-year contract. But he feels that he wasn’t supported by the school board and wants to put his family’s needs first.

“I don't want to say any derogatory thing against anyone,” Swint said. “I will just say I don't believe it was a good fit for me for a number of reasons. And so that's why I submitted my resignation.”

Swint and his family will be heading to Virginia as soon as they can, to be closer to his son and grandkids. While he hasn’t been hired for another job yet, Swint said he's applied for positions outside of K through 12 education. He says he’s shifting careers and won’t be returning to that field.

Swint joined the district in July 2021, after longtime Superintendent John Conwell retired.

He notified the board about his departure on Sept. 16, according to school board president Jolene Longo.

When asked why he chose to leave so abruptly, rather than waiting for the school year to end, Swint said he probably should have resigned prior to the start of this year. Still, he said he thinks this is the right time to go.

“Right now, we're not under anything as far as accreditation or teacher negotiations,” Swint said. “And of course, we don't have COVID anymore.”

Swint also said he felt uncomfortable about the way the board handled a dispute he had with former elementary school principal LaVettra Clayton.

Clayton filed a grievance against Swint last year over reimbursement for moving expenses. The district investigated the internal complaint and found that Swint committed no wrongdoing. Still, Swint said he feels the board overstepped certain boundaries by performing the investigation.

Swint — who is Black — said another reason he is leaving is the lack of racial sensitivity and diversity among staff and administration.

“I just think that we live in a very diverse world now,” he said. “And I think we just need to start accepting people, who they are. And there needs to be more cultural awareness training.”

He said, overall, he feels the district wasn’t open to a lot of the changes he suggested, and wanted more sports options like football for his son.

Board members are working with the Association of Alaska School Boards to find a new superintendent for next school year, according to a statement released Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, Unalaska High School Principal Jim Wilson will fill in for Swint, and Assistant Principal Ryan Humphrey will take over Wilson’s position as principal.

Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
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