Dr. Joyce Burick Swarzman passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at the age of 75 following her long fight with ALS.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Marvin and Janet Burick, and her brother, Elliot Burick. She is survived by Herb Swarzman, her husband of 47 years; her daughter, Elizabeth; her nephew Steven Burick, and numerous other beloved family members and friends.
Joyce was born on May 6, 1947 in Dayton, Ohio, and received her B.A. from Ohio State University. She received her M.A. in Counseling, her M.Ed. in Supervision and Curriculum, and her Doctorate in Teacher Education, all from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. Dr. Swarzman taught in Chicago, Atlanta, and New York before moving to Florida.
She met her husband, Herb, in Atlanta on a blind date, and they were married on Feb. 14, 1975. They moved to Florida, where they raised their daughter, Elizabeth, and Joyce began making her mark in educational leadership.
Joyce dedicated her career to identifying and recognizing excellence in education. For 15 years, she coordinated the award-winning Suncoast Area Teacher Training Honors Program. She also served as the Associate Director of the David C. Anchin Center and the office of Clinical Education at the University of South Florida. She received the USF Senior Class Outstanding Professor of the Year Award, an award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and many honors from educational organizations.
Known for her cutting-edge workshops for educators, she facilitated the Commissioner of Education’s Round Table to honor the Florida Teachers of the Year for 8 years and was a featured speaker at the National Teacher of the Year Conference. She was the trainer and facilitator for Florida Council of Independent Schools Academy for High Performing Educators and served on the FCIS board.
In 1996, she joined Corbett Preparatory School – then known as Independent Day School – to “walk the talk” and experience in action the educational practices she taught teachers. She planned to stay at IDS for just two years. It turned into more than two decades.
Joyce brought to IDS/Corbett Prep her commitment to professional development, hosting conferences in cooperative learning, social-emotional learning, and brain-based communication. She personally trained more than 20,000 teachers locally, nationally, and internationally. She created the research-based M.O.R.E. Model (Multiple Options for Results in Education) with strategies designed to create a brain-friendly learning environment, and she traveled to Spain and China to share those methods with schools worldwide. Her educational theories are detailed in the 2004 book It’s All about Kids: Every Child Deserves a Teacher of the Year.
She loved introducing Corbett Prep to new families, aspiring teachers, international visitors, and even strangers she met while traveling. Anyone who came through the school became family, and she was a fierce advocate for her graduates and the educators she had trained. She had strong opinions about teaching methods, the value of positive phrasing, and the uniqueness of all learners.
She moved into a new position at Corbett Prep in 2020 to support initiatives and training. Shortly afterward, she was diagnosed with ALS. Even when she was unable to visit Corbett Prep’s campus, she remained involved behind-the-scenes, sharing her ideas and advice and watching student performances and competitions on Zoom.
In 2021, the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) recognized her as a “teacher’s teacher” with the prestigious Edgar McCleary Service Award that spotlights Florida educators who go above and beyond in their service. In 2022, the Sue & Jeff Schoenbaum Annual Community Leadership Awards established the Joyce Swarzman Education Award in her name.
She held her Jewish faith close to her heart. A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20 at Myrtle Hill Memorial Park.
Joyce loved to provide people with multiple options for everything, so in lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to the Joyce Burick Swarzman Teacher Development Fund, the Team Gleason Foundation or the Tampa JCC Preschool program. The teacher development fund at Corbett Prep was built with Joyce’s guidance and reflects her passion for education. Her dream was to allow “Teachers with a capital T” the gift of training and help every student learn under a teacher of the year. The family would also like to acknowledge the incredible support given by the Team Gleason Foundation, a leading champion for the fight against ALS.
ZOOM FOR THE SERVICE:
Topic: Joyce Swarzman Service
Time: Jan 20, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 813 874 3330