Leadership Award renamed to honor Richard Swantz, former superintendent and co-founder of LPEF

The LPEF Board has renamed its annual Leadership Award in honor of Richard Swantz, the longest serving superintendent of schools in La Crosse history and a co-founder of LPEF, who died Oct. 15, 2019 at the age of 84.

Initial awards were made Jan. 21 at the annual Grants Award Luncheon.

Dick retired as superintendent in 1998 after serving 21 years. His tenure was a time of remarkable change in the School District of La Crosse, and included building a new Logan High School, which opened in 1979. Dick worked with Board of Education members, most notably Dr. Charles Miller III, to create LPEF in 1988. Following his retirement from the public schools, Dick went on to play an active role in the community, including being elected to the La Crosse Common Council, the last four as president.

Tony Swantz, a teacher in Fort Atkinson, thanked LPEF and the luncheon crowd on behalf of the Swantz family. His father, Richard Swantz, died in October and was the longest-serving superintendent in La Crosse school history.

Upon his retirement, Dick and his wife, Judy, helped establish the Swantz Endowment Fund at the La Crosse Community Foundation to benefit LPEF.

One of Dick’s last major projects was to lead an effort to increase the endowment fund (see below). Distributions from the fund are used to support grants for teacher training in the La Crosse public schools.

At the January luncheon, LPEF Board Secretary Kathie Tyser explained the decision to name the award for Swantz. “I truly can think of no better person to name a public education leadership award for than this man.””

Swantz’s son, Tony, a teacher in Fort Atkinson, represented the family at the luncheon and said he and his mother were grateful for the recognition. “No greater honor could be bestowed. It’s bittersweet, but it’s awesome. It’s the most important work you can do — to teach. It’s that simple.”

The initial Richard Swantz Leadership Awards were granted to:

  • Mark White, director of Human Resources for the School District of La Crosse.
  • Randy Nelson, retiring superintendent of schools.

Read more about their awards and the presentation here.

Swantz endowment fund grows to more than $60,000

Friends and admirers of Richard Swantz donated about $33,000 in the past 18 months to the LPEF endowment fund that bears his name. Following is a list of donors who made gifts in 2018-19 in response to fundraising by Dick, or who made gifts in his memory in 2019.

Richard and Judy Swantz
Lisa and Bryan Albrecht
Burton & Norma Altman
Norma Arneson
Jim and Carolyn Bagniewski
Jane and Joe Barstow
Terry and Julie Bartels
Jeff and Linda Bartelt
Tom and Kathryn Barth
Alan and Carol Bassuener
Bob and Sue Berg
Jerry and Ruth Berns
Linda Betsinger
Harry and Ardis Bolstad
Nancy Borgen
David and Judy Bouffleur
John and Rosemary Burnett
Mary Cepek
Tom and Louise Claflin
Jean Clark
John and Ardus Cleveland
Anna Beth Culver
Terry Curtis
Carmen De Yoe
Paul and Lisa Deml
Margaret Dihlmann-Malzer
Margaret Donner
Tom and Jane Downs
Mary Ann Dreves
Neil Duresky
Tim and Sue Durtsche
Gene Ertz
Kate and Scott Escher
Stacey Everson
Diane and Russ Ford
Fran Formanek
James Fowler
Ken French
Martin and Jo Beth Gaul
Mike and Gretchen Geary
Karen Gleason
Amy Grabow
Rachel Gundersen
Richard and Diane Haines
Tarry and Mary Hall
Ron and Pamela Hanson
Shawn Hanson
Doug and Nadine Happel
Roger and Mary Harring
Joe and Patricia Heim
Dawn and Ken Hemker
Chris Herbert and Kelly Conrad
Sue Hessel and Dick Mial
Sue and Fred Heuer
Hmoob Cultural Agency
Gayda and Ray Hollnagel
Byron Holz
Pat Houlihan
Robert Huff
Bob and Marilyn Hurt
Glen and Carolyn Jenkins
Johns, Flaherty and Collins
Vern and Judy Jordan
Sandy Kapellas
Ruth Kielley
Larry and Susan Kirch
Greg and Ellen Koelker
Gloria Kubisiak
Fred and Janet Kusch
La Crosse Community Foundation
La Crosse Education Association
Mary Lansing & Dan Schneider
Margaret and Tim Larson
Mary E Larson
Monica Lazere
Chongcher Lee and Tia Yang
Roger and Sondra LeGrand
Dorothy and Rich Lenard
Clyde and Susan Leonard
Karen and Tom Liston
Jack and Joyce Lockhart
Logan High School Staff
Marine Credit Union Board Members – Tom Knothe, Bob Carney, Bill Sacia, Will Maas, Mark Reed, Anne Snow
Marilyn Mathews Bendiksen
Cari Mathwig Ramseier
Patti McCracken Vickery
McHenry (Ill.) HS Class of ‘64
John and Dee Medinger
Jean Melson
Susan Miller
Modern Crane Service
David and Sheila Momont
Dennis and Julie Montabon
Duane and Jan Moore
William Morgan
Susan and Doug Mormann
Kay Morton
Larry and Kerry Myhra
Jim and Rebecca Naugler
Julie Nelson
Randy and Lynn Nelson
Kermit & Barbara Newcomer
Marilyn Nieckarz
Liz Nutter
Barb and Kurt Oettel
Steve O’Malley
Paul Patros
Dorothy Paulikas
Bill and Kathy Pautz and family
Elmer Petersen
Richard and Shirley Pfeifer
Terry and Jane Pfeifer
Russ Phillips
Becky Post
Mary Pretasky
Marshall and Heather Quackenboss
Tom and Jackie Rand
Dick Record
Mike and Therese Regner
Gary and Maurita Robarge
Kris, Nicole and Tanner Rochelt
Charles and Lenore Rodman
David and Nancy Russell
Jan Sahagian-Crandall
Alice Sather
Jeanette Schams
Gary and Susan Schettle
Randy and Marian Schiesser
Paul and Joan Schoenfeld
Kay Schroeder
Barbara Schultz
Louise Sedevie-Lawrynk
Joyce Shanks
Gifts in memory of Rollie Solberg
Patty Sprang
Mary Stanek
Gary and Bette Stiers
David Stoeffler
Angela and Kevin Strangman
Pat Straub
Brad Sturm
Ron and Lynn Sunne
Carol Taebel
Kay Taylor
Tom and Priscilla Thibodeau
Melede and Ray Thompson
Tom and Jean Thompson
Jay and Diane Thurston
Connie and Gary Troyanek
Kathie and Rob Tyser
Lynne and Keith Valiquette
K. Andy Vang
Mary Veldey
Dorothy Vick
Terry and Ken Visger
Ed and Bobbi Walsh
Pam and Bruce Walters
Don and Roxie Weber
Stephen and Katherine Webster
Mary Lin Wershofen
Mary and Dale Wetterling
Jean Wetzsteon
Mark and Debra White
Lance Wiedenhoeft
Woody Wiedenhoeft
Harvey and Patricia Witzenburg
Terry Witzke
Margaret Wood
Linda Ziehm
Don and Susan Zimmerman
Linda Zoerb