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Legacy Matters: Kathryn Swanner’s 47 Years of Quiet Service Make MISD What it Is

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Kathryn Swanner has worked in McKinney ISD Central Administration for 47 years. Her daughter, Beth Lowry, serves as the media resource specialist at Valley Creek Elementary: "I don't remember a time when my mother was not an employee in McKinney ISD."

Kathryn Swanner has worked in McKinney ISD Central Administration for 47 years. Her daughter, Beth Lowry, serves as the media resource specialist at Valley Creek Elementary: "I don't remember a time when my mother was not an employee in McKinney ISD."

“I don’t remember a time when my mother was not an employee in McKinney ISD. My first memories are of her working at the administration building on Highway 5/McDonald St. for Mr. Scott Johnson. She has always taken a lot of pride in her work, always in professional attire, and I don’t think she has ever participated in a jeans day or casual Friday! My brother and I are very proud of our mother and have wanted her to retire multiple times. Her response to us is always the same, “But, what else would I do?” My mom’s legacy is far-reaching in her quiet support of the MISD legends mentioned in this article and others too numerous to name. I cannot possibly imagine working in the same place for as long as she has been here. She is the definition of legacy, and I am proud to be her daughter.” — Beth Lowry, Valley Creek Elementary Media Resource Specialist and Daughter of Kathryn Swanner

McKinney, Texas – When Kathryn Swanner took her first job with McKinney ISD, Gerald Ford was President of the United States.

In contrast to our 38th president’s rather short-lived stint in the oval office, Swanner’s career in MISD has been exponentially more enduring. At a mind-boggling 47 years on the payroll, she is the longest-tenured employee currently working for the district.

She was hired in 1975 as secretary for then Assistant Superintendent (and now middle school namesake) Scott Johnson. In a few years, she would go on to work under another MISD school namesake, Arthur McNeil, in the business office. Fast forward to 2022, and you’ll find her in the accounting department, a stack of paperwork on her desk, quietly going about her day as the district’s direct-pay clerk.

Swanner at desk on phone in 1989 photo

Kathryn Swanner, in 1989 at the McKinney ISD Central Administration building.

Between 1975 and today stand decades of quiet, steady service in MISD’s central administration offices as the district has grown around her. Since the day that Swanner typed her first memo for Scott Johnson, MISD has expanded from six campuses to its current 31, and thousands of seniors across 82 McKinney Boyd, McKinney High School and McKinney North graduating classes have walked the stage to accept diplomas.

Seven superintendents (three of whom became campus namesakes*) have led the district during Swanner’s time in MISD: Jack Faubion*, Scott Johnson*, Dr. Jack Cockrill*, Dr. David Anthony, Tom Crowe, Dr. J.D. Kennedy and Dr. Rick McDaniel.

Swanner is a product of MISD herself, a 1957 graduate of what was then still known as Boyd High School, before it became McKinney High School. Over the years, she has seen her children and grandchildren graduate from McKinney schools, and her daughter Beth is the media resource specialist at Valley Creek Elementary.

Why does all of this matter?

Because, while teachers and campus personnel impact students’ lives directly, it’s people like Kathryn Swanner, who work behind the scenes, taking care of the details, that help keep the operation afloat, so that teachers and campus staff can focus on students.

According to Monster.com, citing a January 2020 report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average worker today stays at a job for approximately 4.1 years.

You can’t build a legacy in 4.1 years. The modern take on employment won’t get it done. It’s the people who invest their lives in a place, who become its heart and soul and knit a community together that create a legacy. People like Kathryn Swanner.

She tried to retire in 2003 with the idea that she would come back for a year or two part-time. Nineteen years later, she’s still here. If you ask her why she has stayed so long, Swanner responds in her dignified, soft-spoken manner, “Because of the people.”

Director of Accounting Jan Shaw has worked in various capacities with Swanner for 21 years. “Kathryn is probably one of the most loyal employees this district has ever had,” said Shaw. “She’s been in every department. There’s no one who doesn’t depend on her. And, she gives 100 percent. I can’t imagine us working without her, really.”

If you ask Swanner, she doesn’t see that the work she has done over the years is anything to make a fuss over. She assesses her career simply as, “It’s been a good ride.”

But, if it really is the people that have made MISD worth sticking with as Swanner asserts, then she is included in that group, too.

She is one of those people—and absolutely essential in making MISD what it has been and what it still is today.

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If you need additional assistance with the content on this page, please contact MISD Communications Department team member Shane Mauldin by phone at 469-302-4007 or by email here .

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