Dave Childers views it as a rare opportunity to step into a well-performing program that needs little to make it better.
Childers, 38, of Madera is the new principal at McSwain Elementary School in Merced. He began early this month and succeeds Terrie Rohrer, who will be working on Common Core State Standards instructional practices training before retiring in November.
“It’s an amazing school,” Childers said. “Not a lot needs to be addressed. It’s one of the highest-performing schools in the county. It has a really talented and dedicated staff and will continue to be successful.”
Childers’ boss, McSwain Union School District Superintendent Stan Mollart, said Childers brings a lot of technical expertise and is well-versed in computer-assisted learning.
Mollart said Childers is very upbeat and enthusiastic. With Rohrer helping to get Common Core standards off to a good start, Mollart thinks Childers and Rohrer will make a great team.
Rohrer, 61, has been McSwain’s principal for 15 years and has another 11 years in education with the Merced City School District and Merced River School District.
“I don’t think I will totally walk away from education, mentoring or teaching,” Rohrer said. She says in retirement, she wants to spend more time with her family and help her husband, a general contractor, in design and color issues with new construction.
McSwain was a great place to be an administrator, with supportive administrators and trustees, Rohrer said.
Childers has been in the teacher education program at California State University, Fresno, for six years as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education and Human Development. In 2012-13 he was the coordinator of leadership development with the Merced County Office of Education.
Childers was a classroom teacher in the Madera Unified School District from 1999 to 2007 and the vice principal and program manager in 2007-08 at Chester Rowell Elementary School in the Fresno Unified School District. He was the founding executive director and principal of the Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership in Fresno from 2008 to 2012.
McSwain Elementary will have 850 students from transitional kindergarten through eighth grade this fall, with about 40 teachers expected.
Childers said his goals are focusing on managing the transition of a new principal and looking at growing the integration of technology into instructional programs. He has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction-educational technology from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. He received his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Fresno State, along with credentials.