Dr. JoAnn Schwarting, Dr. Gary Zehrbach, Jennifer Minor

Dr. JoAnn Schwarting, middle, 2021 Deer Valley Unified School District Principal of the Year with Dr. Gary Zehrbach, right, deputy superintendent of Administrative Leadership & Services for DVUSD and Jennifer Minor, left, manager of Administrative Leadership & Services for DVUSD. 

Dr. JoAnn Schwarting, who helms Desert Mountain School, has been named Deer Valley Unified School District’s 2021 Principal of the Year. 

“I am honored beyond belief,” Schwarting said. 

“The 2020-21 school year required unprecedented campus leadership, and there isn’t an administrator in the district who doesn’t deserve to be principal of the year this year. I am also profoundly thankful for the Desert Mountain staff.”

Schwarting said the staff’s collaborative nature and experience allows her to succeed in her job and with the Return to School Safely committee. 

“I am so proud to bring this award back to Desert Mountain School to share and honor this collective achievement,” she added.

A native of Lakeside, Schwarting graduated from Blue Ridge High School. After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, Schwarting earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from ASU, a Master of Arts degree in educational administration and supervision from NAU, and a doctorate in education leadership and innovation from ASU.

Schwarting has served the Deer Valley Unified School District since 2005. For seven years, she taught English language arts at Desert Mountain School before transferring to Desert Sky Middle School to work as an instructional coach and an assistant principal.

In her fifth year as Desert Mountain principal, Schwarting supported the COVID-19 model school set-ups across the district. 

“Principals today must have a collaborative spirit,” she said.

“As they collectively develop a vision of the school, they must also trust and support the community as they work toward meeting the vision. Being a principal today also means that you are able to develop and sustain trusting relationships with students, staff, parents, and community members. You have to be truly invested in the well-being of all you serve.”

Dr. Gary Zehrbach, deputy superintendent of administrative leadership and services, said he admires her work. 

“Dr. Schwarting was instrumental in helping more than 30,000 students from the DVUSD community experience in-person school for the majority of the 2020-21 school year,” Zehrbach said. “Her leadership and efforts went above and beyond.”

McCarthy Building Companies is the award’s sponsor.