Teacher of the Month: William Swift


Photo by Julia Levi

Mr. Swift proudly holds up his “Teacher of the Month” certificate. This is Swift’s third year at WCHS, where he teaches AP Computer Science Principles and Broadcast TV.

By Julia Levi, Assistant Observations Editor

Doing everything from holding skiing world records and working for PBS to teaching high school students, calling Mr. William Swift well-rounded would be an understatement. Known for his bubbly and lively personality, the AP Computer Science Principles and Broadcast Television teacher never seems to fail to engage his students. 

Swift grew up in Georgetown, D.C. and attended Colorado College where he majored in Biology and Drama. Thereafter, Swift took on several unique job experiences all with a similar theme: teaching. 

“From [Colorado College], I worked as a ski and sailing instructor for Club Med, working in Copper Mountain, Colorado, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and St. Moritz in Switzerland,” Swift said.

At this time, Swift was a professional freestyle skier who held the world record for Torchlit Ski Descent. Following his skiing career, Swift acquired a position as the head of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) NewsHour’s STEM and Health Student Reporting Labs. 

“I had a portfolio of 39 high schools and middle schools that would submit stories for prompts I had established on a theme for the year,” Swift said. 

With this position, Swift found a passion for television and broadcasting. However, after three years with PBS, Swift decided to reroute his course.

“My NSF Grant funding that position ended and COVID came along, and no one was biting in the TV Job market, so I looked into teaching high school,” Swift said. “I have always been told I would be a good teacher, but my style is more of a coach, since I started teaching skiing.”

Swift began teaching at WCHS three years ago, where unfortunately, his first year teaching was fully online due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, Swift adapted to WCHS and quickly built connections with those around him.

“In my CTE department, everyone is incredibly fun and supportive,” Swift said. “Students for the most part are eager to learn and succeed. It is an exciting environment to be a part of.”

In his classes, Swift is able to create a relaxed yet entertaining environment for his students. Often found sparking conversations with students, Swift always seems to have an amusing story right up his sleeve to share.

“Mr. Swift was super enthusiastic and engaged students in his class,” WCHS junior Sarah Yesnowitz said. “I took AP Computer Science Principles and he made the learning environment enjoyable while introducing new topics.”

In addition to computer science, Swift hones in his passion for broadcast television through teaching the Broadcast Television course at WCHS. One of his favorite parts of teaching is going LIVE each Friday for the WCHS broadcasts.

“We put a lot of effort into trying to come up with a great set and fun ideas for the script. It makes me very proud to see my team work under the pressure of a LIVE Broadcast,” Swift said.  “In TV, I am hoping to train a cadre of your producers that can create great visual stories on Churchill and issues that touch their lives.”

From his classes, Swift hopes that his students will develop a love of learning. Computer science and media is very important to Swift, as he believes it is the #1 gateway into the “STEM Pipeline.” Swift plans to continue sharing the value of STEM with his students, as well as setting them up for academic success.

“I feel very blessed to be working in such an excellent school,” Swift said. “Churchill has a pretty amazing reputation in the community. I live 10 minutes away and am always running into Churchill Alumni and they all love the school, never a bad story. That is pretty cool!”