Jennifer Swenson is a Little Falls native through and through. She attended Mary of Lourdes Catholic School at the time when the elementary and middle schools consolidated in the early 1990s. Inspired by her Catholic education, she pursued a degree in elementary education and has been a teacher for her entire career.
About four years ago, Mrs. Swenson returned to Little Falls with her husband and two sons, and last year she was reunited with her alma mater, Mary of Lourdes, as a first-grade teacher.
Now, Mrs. Swenson is the principal of the same school that shaped her as a young child.
“When I was living and teaching in the Twin Cities, I went to St. Mary’s University to get my Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction,” she says. “Once my degree was completed and my family moved to Little Falls, I felt God’s call to return to teaching in a Catholic school. God’s call came again when the principal position opened.”
Although Mrs. Swenson didn’t know it at the time, she now sees how God orchestrated the pieces to fit into place for her life to come full circle and be the principal of a school that had such a personal impact on her.
“God had given me signs along the way and was planting the seed,” she says. “He put people in my path that had encouraged me to think about being a principal one day. Becoming the principal of Mary of Lourdes has been a full-circle journey for me. This is where I started practicing my faith and now I have been called back to share the faith with others.”
Mrs. Swenson has exciting plans for Mary of Lourdes and all of them center on Christ.
“My role is to let people know that we are not just a private school, but a Christ-centered school,” she says. “As we enter into the next school year, I am excited to create unity within our school and Catholic community. We are a six-parish cluster and a two-campus school, but these divisions do not undermine our one mission of making disciples of Christ.”
As principal, Mrs. Swenson’s sole focus is on delivering a safe, high-quality education that is always informed by the faith. She desires the school to be an extension of the parishes that it serves. As such, she is determined to promote the mission of making disciples in school.
“The goal is to become saints,” she says.
During the summer, Mrs. Swenson has been busy preparing for the school year. As an example of her dedication to leading the school toward Christ, she is making sure that she is hiring new staff who shares the same values of vocation and discipleship.
“As some of our veteran staff are retiring, it is important that we find new teachers that share the vision that teaching in a Catholic school is a calling from God,” Mrs. Swenson says.
Mrs. Swenson invites all Catholic families to consider joining the Mary of Lourdes School Community. She desires everyone to know that their students will be safe and provided with a solid academic education and foundation of faith.
“No matter which parish you are from, all are welcome,” Mrs. Swenson says.