Karen Swoboda

Director + Department Chair

JWU Faculty Since 2007

Karen Swoboda

Contact Info


Karen Swoboda has worked in the School of Education at JWU since 2007, when she began as an adjunct instructor in the Master of Arts in Teaching program while serving as a school administrator in Rhode Island. She was appointed to the role of director of teacher education in January 2011. She earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at JWU in 2015. In January 2017, she became interim director of the Educational Leadership doctoral program, and was appointed to the position of director of education programs in the School of Education in the spring of 2018. As such, she is responsible for all education programs on the masters and doctoral level.

Prior to coming to JWU, Swoboda was a social studies teacher and reading specialist in Narragansett, Rhode Island, for more than 25 years. She earned certification as a building administrator after completing a year-long internship in the Principal Residency Network in 2006–07. She was an assistant principal at Barrington High School and Chariho Middle School before moving full time to Johnson & Wales University. In addition, Swoboda served for two years as principal of a PK–8 Catholic school in the Diocese of Providence.

Swoboda has developed extensive knowledge in the areas of teacher education, dispositions to teach and the role of the Catholic elementary/middle principal. Her doctoral dissertation research was in the area of Catholic school leadership, specifically looking at the multiple roles often played by Catholic principals and their self-efficacy in meeting those demands.

She currently serves as a member of PREP-RI, the Certification Policy Advisory Board, and has served for many years on the board of the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity


  • Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Johnson & Wales University
  • M.A., Reading Education, University of Rhode Island
  • B.A., History, Secondary Education, Journalism, University of Rhode Island

My practitioner research has focused in the fields of teacher education and the principalship in Catholic settings