Patricia Swenson’s educational journey began with her attendance at a Catholic elementary/middle school in her hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She went on to attend an all-girls Catholic high school, followed by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in education and a Master of Education degree from Louisiana State University. She credits her Catholic all-girls education for developing her leadership skills.
During her 28-year stint as Head of School at Trinity Episcopal School Day School in Baton Rouge, Patricia addressed a variety of needs, including adjusting budgets in response to the ebb and flow of enrollment following Hurricane Katrina, implementing innovative technology and science programs, and expanding the school campus. She also was named ‘Favorite Principal’ by Baton Rouge Parents magazine, participated in Leadership Greater Baton Rouge and was nominated for participation in Leadership Louisiana before relocating out of the state for her next headship. She was also a member of a parochial educational delegation chosen to meet with congressional leaders in Washington D.C. and attend congressional hearings on behalf of parochial school needs in Louisiana post-Katrina.
In 2008, Patricia was recruited to be Head of School at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis, Indiana. During her tenure there, she applied her leadership and organizational skills to improve the school curriculum, create a new campus master plan, develop strategic plans for a diverse community, and to address other needs including communication and improved employee salaries and benefits.
After four years at St. Richard’s, Patricia was recruited to become Head of School at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart. Now in her 10th year, Patricia has created a collaborative administrative team, created two strategic plans, completed a capital campaign to expand the expand the campus learning spaces, and completed a major gifts campaign for school athletics. The most recent strategic plan, Envision 2022, focuses on advising, academic preparation, campus master planning, the endowment, and health and wellness of girls, which has led to the implementation of new innovative Middle and Upper School Mod schedules.
Additionally, during her time at Duchesne, Patricia led the school through the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, and a COVID-19 global pandemic. At the onset of the pandemic, Patricia created emergency management committees to navigate the school’s closure with remote learning, followed by onsite reopening with a remote learning option, and now fully onsite, all while ensuring the health of the Duchesne community and keeping student learning on track.
Patricia has served in various capacities within professional organizations including board member, conference presenter, and member/leader on accreditation teams. Her affiliations include the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES), National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS), and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.