Mari A. Swayne

Mari A. Swayne, current director of Pike STEM and Career Center, continually seeks to promote academic achievement and is a dynamic educational leader with many skills and talents. “She is inexhaustible, and her passion is evident,” shared Evelyn Gearries, her 100 Heroes nominator.

Selected from a national pool of educators to participate in the Toyota International Teacher Program, Swayne traveled and collaborated on curriculum with an elite group. A primary motivator for Swayne is, “Once you provide a student or young person with exposure to new opportunities, like mentors, internships, job shadows and field trips, it opens new pathways that they may never have thought would be available to them. Professionally, my students are my customers and in the community, doing my part to support the common good is nonnegotiable.”

Swayne was inspired to serve at a young age by her grandmother and mother. “My mom encouraged me to do things I was not always comfortable with, but I learned and grew from this,” she said. Her grandmother always talked about community and giving back, noting that to whom much is given, much is required. “I would see service through her at the Christamore House and now serve as chair of the board because I understand the impact it can have.”

Swayne, recognized with several prestigious educator awards for going above and beyond, also makes an impact in the Central Indiana community through other service organizations: Indiana State University Bayh College of Education Dean’s Advisory Board; Indiana Association for Career and Technical Districts; and recently named to the Indiana Association for Career & Technical Education Region III Fellows.

Swayne is a huge champion for equity in education. “I’ve been blessed to work in several types of education: rural, urban, career and technical, post-secondary, state and public ivy institutions,” she said. “These educational opportunities are the true freedom for our young people, and we need to continue to provide them with mentoring and access to options that benefit themselves.”

“My wish for the future of Indianapolis is that there will continue to be opportunities for everyone, but specifically our young people to get to the next level through mentoring or advocacy from someone outside of their family. We must build a foundation for our young people that equips them with options, which expose them to a new normal that will benefit them and change the scope of their future.”