Lt. Col. Shawn M. Swier, who recently completed 23½ years of service with the United States Marine Corps, will take over as Senior Marine Instructor at the Mountain Grove High School.
Swier was the executive officer for the Marine Corps Detachment at Ft. Leonard Wood when he retired this year.
Swier grew up in Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University where he was in the Naval ROTC program. Initially when in college he was also in the Marine Corps Reserve in Des Moines, Iowa, as an enlisted Marine.
Lt. Col. Swier indicated that when he was getting ready to retire he was advised to lay out all the things he enjoyed doing and match them against retirement employment options.
Swier stated that he felt he would have an interest in serving as a JROTC instructor, and that it just so happened that the Mountain Grove Marine Corps JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Lee Beamon was retiring from the position.
He added that he liked the midwest and decided to take the position and move to Mtn. Grove.
While serving in the Marine Corps Swier stated that he had no formal teaching positions, but that as an officer of Marines you’re always doing some teaching. Immediately after retiring he did do some teaching of college classes for Lincoln University and and substitute taught in the Waynesville School District.
“Like any other job there will be a certain amount of getting up to speed, but it has been about what I anticipated,” he said.
He did not feel like there would be too big of an adjustment from dealing with Marines to dealing with the high school students. He pointed out that he has been retired for six months which has given him some buffer for the transition.
He stated that he knows that the students are not Marines, but cadets, and they can’t be treated as Marines.
He explained that he was not totally removed from understanding teenagers. He has a daughter who will be a high school freshman and a son who will be in the sixth grade, and he has worked with a lot of 18 and 19 year olds in the Marine Corps.
Swier stated that the program would be attempting to increase the activities outside the classrooms which could include different physical training activities or orientation trips. We will try to give the kids a taste of things along with the standard academics. Some of these activities could include additional leadership camps and activities outside of the normal area possibly on the east or west coasts. He would also like to see if more “adventure training” could be incorporated in the program where the cadets can get some hands on training, and experience some unique things related to the military life that you don’t see every day.
Swier stated that he has pretty traditional midwest hobbies. He enjoys shooting and hunting. He also terms himself an outdoors type that likes to do such things as run, bike ride and hike.
He stated that he is excited to be part of the community and is looking forward to getting to know the people in the community as well as the students he will be teaching.