33 years with 3rd graders (and one with 4th)


Written by: Phil Stein & Mindi Spear

Ron Swalve is one of seven Algona Community School teachers to be retiring at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Swalve is happy he chose teaching as his profession, knowing he has made an impact on the lives of children. Throughout his time teaching, Swalve has always worked hard to ensure that all students felt special and cared for. His dedication to students and his craft was recently recognized by others when he won the AHS Class of 1979 Teacher of the Year Award at the end of this school year.

Swalve started teaching in 1986 at Armstrong-Ringsted. While there, he taught third grade for nine years and fourth grade for one year.  He then came to Algona, where he has taught third grade for 24 years. 

“I’ve had so many amazing students,” Swalve states with pride.  They have gone on to become cops, doctors, and teachers, even a few in the Algona district. They have become good parents and awesome people as adults.

Swalve states, “I was part of an outstanding team.” Swalve credits the success he’s had in the classroom to the many people who have impacted him, mostly his colleagues. The current 3rd grade team of Drew Severson, Jennifer Christensen, Sheryl Carroll, and Jean Davis has impacted him the most by being hard working teachers who care a lot for kids as well as other people. “They are the most caring and wonderful, fun people I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Swalve states.  

Throughout his time teaching, he has learned as many things from the students as he has taught them. He has learned that students know if you are sincerely interested in them. He has learned that teachers are special because they treat students like their own and worry about them 24/7. He has learned that “schools are the glue that holds communities and society together.” He has learned that education is constantly changing. But basically, “It always boils down to caring for kids.”

Swalve will miss the students and co-workers when he’s no longer teaching. During retirement, Swalve plans on subbing, spending more time with his granddaughter, finding new adventures, and finally truly relaxing.