Swanson Middle School’s History

Claude A. Swanson

Claude Swanson's Signature

“When in doubt, do right. The moral pathway is always the safest.”
~ Claude A. Swanson

Claude A. Swanson, for whom our school was named, was born in 1862 in Swansonville, Virginia. He graduated from Randolph-Macon College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, served as Governor of Virginia and also served as the Secretary of the Navy for six years.

Swanson 1940's

The school was built in 1939 on land bought from the Torreyson family. On January 2, 1940, Swanson opened as a junior high school. Miss Lena M. Wolfe was the first principal of Swanson Jr. High School, serving in this capacity from 1940-1967. Mr. C. Thomas Weber (1967-1973) and Mr. Joseph W. Moorhead (1973-1976) succeeded her.
Because of a decrease in the school population throughout the county, Arlington decided to restructure the secondary school program. In 1978, Swanson became an intermediate school. Mr. Dennis Hill (1976-1982) was the principal during this transitional period, followed by Mr. Arthur J. Claiborne (1982-1984).

In the fall of 1990 with Mr. Lawrence E. Grove (1984-1992), as principal, Swanson became a middle school (6th, 7th, 8th grade). This change was made after the completion of extensive research on the middle school concept and because of Arlington’s willingness to address the educational needs of its young adolescents. Mrs. Marion D. Spraggins (1992-2000),  Mr. Gregg Robertson (2000-2003), Mrs. Chrystal M. (2003-2011), and Mrs. Bridget Loft (2011-2017). Renee Harber was named principal in the spring of 2017, and is the current captain of our ship!

Swanson Middle School continues to grow with the Arlington community. A $6.5 million dollar renovation and construction project was completed in the fall 2004 which increased classroom space and lab facilities.