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Lifelong educator brings passion, purpose to WVU Energy Express summer reading program

Headshot of Mark Swiger

Mark Swiger, a passionate advocate for education, has joined WVU Extension Service as director of Energy Express.

With nearly 40 years of experience working in education on the local, state and national levels, Swiger brings leadership and purpose to the award-winning summer reading and nutrition program. In this role, he will be responsible for collaborating with state and community partners to ensure program goals align with state literacy curriculum; working closely with WVU Extension Service agents and staff to execute programming throughout the state; and identifying resources to expand opportunities for literacy activities for West Virginia’s children.

Prior to joining WVU Extension Service, Swiger served in a number of educational and leadership roles, including serving as a consultant for the West Virginia Department of Education. In this role, he implemented entrepreneurship education initiatives, including the high school business plan competition, and co-founded the West Virginia Sustainable Schools Program. He also served as the social studies department chair for John Marshall High School and was the sustainability contact for the entire school district where he helped two schools achieve the National Green Ribbon Schools designation and National District Sustainability Award for the entire district. He also has worked extensively at the board and advisory board levels for the nonprofit community in West Virginia.

“We are thrilled to have Mark leading our Energy Express team,” Cindy Fitch, associate dean for research, said. “His strong background as an educator, combined with his passion and innovative mindset, will help strengthen our Energy Express and literacy programs, while identifying opportunities for us to grow and expand resources in the future.”

Swiger, a native of Elkins and, most recently a Wheeling resident, earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Bethany College and master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from West Virginia University.

“I’m excited to join the Energy Express state office team here at the WVU Extension Service and our statewide team of AmeriCorps members, mentors, our county agents, and our other stakeholders from around the state. I am impressed with the team atmosphere at the Extension Service. The hundreds of people who provide expertise and passion for this work impresses me more and more each day,” Swiger said. “Energy Express, as our team likes to point out, is the premier literacy program provided statewide and is critical in addressing learning loss and food security for our elementary children. Energy Express gives me an opportunity to continue to work hard for education in general, and for our communities in providing expanding opportunities for our children. I’m so happy to be in the position to continue supporting Energy Express’ impact on West Virginia.”

Energy Express is a program under the leadership of WVU Extension Service’s Office of the Dean and Director. Each year, the six-week reading program reaches thousands of children living in low-income and rural communities in West Virginia to provide additional education support. The program is funded, in part, by grants and donations from individuals and private foundations and corporations through the West Virginia University Foundation and Volunteer West Virginia, the lead agency for volunteerism and National Service in West Virginia.

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Tara Curtis
Director of Communications & Marketing
WVU Extension Service