Bath Elementary principal retiring this month

Published 7:27 pm Monday, July 3, 2017

BATH — If there’s one thing that stands out about Brian Swain, it’s his sincere humility.

For 42 of his 52 years, Swain has been a part of Bath Elementary School — first as a student, then a coach, assistant principal and finally a principal. Yet after putting in more than 30 years of work at the school, Swain could only speak of what the school has done for him.

“The school owes me absolutely nothing,” Swain said. “I owe it, well, everything. It’s like I said — it got me to where I’m at.”

On July 18, Swain will say goodbye to his beloved school and retire. But to him, retirement doesn’t mean taking a break. It signals the bittersweet next chapter of his life and an opportunity to do something completely different.

“Sometimes life brings us changes that are not anticipated, and you know, sometimes those changes take us in a different direction,” Swain said. “It’s just time for something different.”

Having lived most of his life in Bath, Swain said he has no plans to move away. He wants to stay right there in the community he calls home. Swain said, breaking into a smile, that he might even volunteer to drive a bus for Bath Elementary. He has two ideas for what to do in his so-called retirement: one is education-related, the other not so much.

Swain said he isn’t sure who his replacement will be — shrugging off the idea of “big shoes to fill” — but he has no doubt Bath Elementary will maintain its high caliber.

“I’m not dropping my support after 42 years,” he said. “It’s always been a strong school, and it’ll continue to be a strong school. One person doesn’t run the show.”

According to Swain, there is no way to pick out just one or two favorite memories over the years, but he said he will certainly miss the people with whom he’s interacted.

“When you work in the trenches with these people for years and years, you build bonds,” he said. “Anytime you’re within a community-oriented school … not only do you build bonds with your faculty and your students, but also the parents.”

Swain doesn’t want a big celebration or any kind of send-off. He said he’d rather just leave his keys on the desk, say his farewells and “ride off into the sunset.” He has his memories, and that’s plenty for this humble man.

So, it’s not really goodbye. It’s simply, “see you later.”

“I’m not going anywhere. Bath raised and Bath I’ll stay,” Swain said. “I look forward to what lies ahead. I think that’s the exciting part to me. “