Jo SwainJo Swain

Assistant Professor of Education
B.A. University of Montana
M.S. Montana State University-Billings
Ed.D. & Administrator Endorsement, Montana State University
Phone: 406.657.1046
Office: Library A103


A Montana native, Jo Swain graduated from Billings West High School in 1972, University of Montana in 1976 with a bachelor's of art in elementary education, Montana State University-Billings with a master's of science in reading, and Montana State University in 1997 with an administrator endorsement and a doctorate in educational leadership.

Following one year of teaching fourth grade in Missoula, Mont., Professor Swain spent 10 years in the Billings school district at the elementary level teaching students in grades 2, 4, 6, and gifted education.

Professor Swain entered the world of educational leadership in the fall of 1987, serving Bitterroot Elementary School as an elementary principal. After six years in this capacity, she moved to Poly Drive Elementary School as the elementary principal serving K-6 students for another five years. Continuing in the educational leadership role, Professor Swain was hired to work in the Billings Public Schools Curriculum Department as the K-12 reading/language arts curriculum director. At the end of two years, she was hired to work as the Billings Public Schools Executive Director of Elementary Education, supervising 24 elementary schools. After two years of serving in this capacity, Swain was hired by the Billings Board of Trustees as the interim superintendent, ultimately being offered a three-year contract by the Board of Trustees. All told, she spent 27 years in the Missoula and Billings districts serving students and the overall community.

Following retirement in 2003, Swain began working for Rocky Mountain College as an adjunct reading instructor. Professor Swain teaches in both the elementary/secondary education department and as an associate professor in the RMC master's of educational leadership program. She authored the RMC reading minor option for K-12 education majors, and she also co-authored the master's program curriculum and program design, spearheading the approval process through RMC's academic vice president, faculty, and the Montana Board of Public Education.

Courses Taught

  • EDC 305: Emergent Literacy
  • EDC 318: Diagnostic Assessment of Reading
  • EDC 350: Methods and Materials – Teaching Reading and Language Arts in the Elementary School
  • EDC 357: Reading Clinic
  • EDC 427: Standards, Instruction, and Student Assessment
  • EDL 500: Foundations of Leadership
  • EDL 505: Dimensions of Leadership
  • EDL 510: Dimensions of Leadership II
  • EDL 520: Supervision of School Personnel


  • Montana elementary education K-8 teaching license
  • Montana elementary principal license
  • Curriculum certification
  • Montana superintendent license
  • National Administrator Mentor certification

Professional organizations include Montana Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals and the National Association of Elementary Principals. Montana Office of Public Instruction school improvement team member. National Administrator Mentor Certification from NOVA Southeastern University and NAESP. Currently part of the Schools of Promise initiative for the Office of Public Instruction.