New superintendent appointed by School Board is familiar face to many

The Palm Springs Unified School District will have a new superintendent on July 1, but he is not new to the district. Dr. Mike Swize was named the next superintendent Tuesday evening by the Board of Education.

“Dr. Swize has the experience, knowledge, wisdom, history and talent to take Palm Springs Unified to the next level,” said Board of Education President Timothy Wood. “We are confident he is the right person to lead our team in pursuit of academic excellence and social and emotional well-being for all of our students.”

Dr. Mike Swize was named the next superintendent of Palm Springs Unified School District Tuesday evening.

Swize, who replaces retiring Superintendent Dr. Sandra Lyon, is originally from Colorado and began his teaching career in the school district in 1990. Aside from teaching, he has served as a bilingual programs coordinator, elementary and middle school principal, and director of English Learners and Elementary Curriculum. Since 2011 he has been assistant superintendent of Educational Services.

“After 31 years in this district that I have loved since day one, I am so excited to continue to serve in this new role of superintendent,” said Swize. “I vow to lead with our shared values of equity, outcomes for all students, collaboration and innovation at the forefront of all of our decision making. It is incredibly important to me to do this work in a way that continues to nurture our culture of respect for all of our students and families, and staff and community.”

In making the announcement, the Board cited Swize’s work during the COVID-19 crisis of the past year as an example of his leadership abilities. Swize said that despite the challenges it made the decision to pursue the superintendent’s role even easier.

“Navigating through a pandemic has been an experience I, along with most educators in the country, had never anticipated,” he said. “To say it has been challenging is quite an understatement.

“At the same time, the experience has solidified my resolve that I am in the right place and work with the best team on the planet. I am ready to continue with this incredible team as we move our district forward.”

Also Tuesday, the Board recognized the following staff members as employees of the year:

  • Principal of the Year: Cabot Yerxa Elementary Principal Amber Gascoigne
  • Certificated Administrator of the Year: Family Engagement Coordinator Ruby Rivera
  • Classified Administrator of the Year: Director of Nutritional Services Stephanie Bruce
  • Classified Employee of the Year: Raymond Cree Middle School Office Specialist Maria Pacheco
  • Confidential Employee of the Year: Human Resources Specialist Mario Castro
  • School Counselor of the Year: Cathedral City High Counselor Valerie Fury
  • Site Support Employee of the Year: Secondary Literacy Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) Noelle Gutierrez

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FIRST LADY IN CITY: The plane carrying First Lady Dr. Jill Biden touched down at Palm Springs International Airport Tuesday evening. The First Lady is scheduled to speak at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms today as part of her effort to listen directly to military families about challenges they face.

DOG MISSING AFTER CRASH: The family of a man involved in an wreck Saturday on Highway 111 near Off Road Rentals is asking for the public’s help in locating his dog that ran from the scene after being extricated from the wreckage. “Collette” is a white Standard Poodle that is microchipped and has a collar. There is a reward for her safe return.


  • Planning Commission: The city’s Panning Commission meets via Zoom at 5:30 PM this evening. Instructions on how to view and participate in the meeting are here, as well as the agenda. Included on tonight’s agenda is discussion of affordable housing in the city, amendments to the architectural review process, construction of a 4,200-square-foot home on Winter Sun Drive, and a conditional use permit for a proposed cannabis business on Gene Autry Trail.

COVID VACCINES: If you qualify for a vaccine you can get one at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, from 8 AM-5 PM today, and all week through Friday. Appointments can be reserved online at Find community providers such as pharmacies here.

TRAFFIC BOX ART: Neighbors in Desert Highlands Gateway Estates are being encouraged to vote on proposed designs for area traffic boxes to be painted under a city program titled “Stop in the Name of Love Traffic Box Project.” Two boxes in the neighborhood will be painted. To see the proposed designs, turn here. To vote on the designs, turn here. Voting ends March 14.


During this entire month, 20 percent of net USPS, UPS, and FedEx transactions at Postal Palm Springs will be donated to AAP – Food Samaritans. This is the first promotion of its kind to be arranged for the local nonprofit dedicated to providing nutritional support to improve the quality of the lives of low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.

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