BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – After three years leading the Fort Madison High School athletics, Jeremy Swink has submitted his resignation to take a position as activities director with Prairie City Monroe between Pella and Des Moines.
Swink made the announcement Friday morning and said he wasn’t actively looking, but like most industries, firms seek people out.
I’ve enjoyed it here in Fort Madison, people have been great and very welcoming. But the PCM opportunity was too good to turn away from, especially, and selfishly, for someone in my current position and stage of life,” Swink said.
PCM is currently 2A in most athletic programs, but that changes from year to year and depending on enrollment and sport. Swink said they are seeing a steady increase in enrollment from year to year.
Swink followed Andy Mitchell as AD at the high school. Mitchell followed Brett Buttjer and both of those individuals moved on to other similar positions within the state. Mitchell is the AD/Assistant Principal with the Atlantic School District. Mitchell was with Fort Madison for five years.
Swink is pursuing a state superintendent certificate and plans on completing that coursework in the fall of 2022. He said a typical AD will serve for to five years before moving on.
“I know the average span of an AD in general is around that four to five year mark. Not necessarily in one district, just as a career, so it’s a shrinking business for sure unfortunately,” he said.
He said Fort Madison should be able to attract another strong candidate.
“It seems like kind of a revolving door, unfortunately, but I do think every situation was slightly different in their own way, while some of them could be similar. Every school district has their struggles and strengths, and that’s no different in Fort Madison,” Swink said.
Fort Madison Superintendent Dr. Erin Slater said a search will begin very soon and the district has always had strong interest in the position.
“On behalf of the Fort Madison Community School District, we extend our thanks to Jeremy for his work and dedication to our student athletes, their families, coaches and staff. We wish him the best of luck in his new position,” Slater said.
The superintendent said it is getting more and more difficult to draw to rural areas of the state, but she’s confident a quality candidate will be found.
“Southeast Iowa, not unlike other more rural areas of the state, does experience difficulty in recruiting and retaining at times, especially with employees newer to the education workforce and in some teaching specialty areas where educational candidates see some of the additional benefits of being located closer to more urban areas of the state,” she said.
Swink said he’s enjoyed his time working with the people in Fort Madison
“Absolutely 100%. The people, coaches, and kids have been overwhelmingly supportive. I have enjoyed my time here,” he said.
“And to add to that, I think we’ve really done some great things, turned some programs around, and found some success in multiple areas.”