New captain to steer pirate ship

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, April 18, 2015

NEWS_NEW BATH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL_150419_WEBHodges retiring, Swain named Bath principal 


By Beaufort County Schools


During the recent meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Education, Brian Swain was named the successor to current Bath Elementary School principal, Pam Hodges. Hodges, who has served as principal since 1996, will retire at the end of this school year.

With a career record reminiscent of baseball greats Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians and Brooks Robinson with the Baltimore Orioles, Hodges has spent her entire career in education at the same school. Swain is on track to mirror that feat. However, he has a few years on Hodges, if his time spent at Bath as a student is counted. A native of Beaufort County, Swain graduated from Bath in June of 1983. Two months later, Hodges came to town.

“I began here at Bath straight out of East Carolina in August of 1983,” Hodges said.

Her 32 years began in the classroom, then as assistant principal. In 1996, Hodges took the reins from iconic educator and coach Jack Wallace.

Swain admits his career at Bath was not something he could have imagined early on.

“I had no idea I would come back here in this capacity. It is an honor to fill such a position at a school I attended as a student,” Swain said.

Swain was in the classroom 16 years, also serving as a coach and then athletic director. The close of this school year will mark the end of his 11th year as an assistant principal.

It is apparent Bath Elementary School means more to Swain than can be adequately explained. Dr. Don Phipps, Superintendent of Beaufort County Schools, knows that dedication to the school is only one reason Swain was the right choice.

“Brian’s career has prepared him to take Bath Elementary School to another level,” Phipps said. “He brings the perspective of a classroom teacher and administrator which gives a clear view of the bigger picture. We will support him as he takes his knowledge of school-level curriculum to a new height and in turn takes Bath Elementary School farther than ever before.”

For Hodges, looking at retirement is bittersweet. The veteran educator said the relationships will be what she will miss the most. Whether the students, the staff or even working the circle drive in 9-degree weather, Hodges said she will miss every single relationship which has been built, especially the one with her assistant principal and friend, Swain.

“It meant a lot, always knowing when I had to be away from the campus Mr. Swain had it under control,” she explained. “I have complete faith in his decision making.”

Swain summed it up saying, “I want to leave it at an even higher level than when I pick up this role.”