About Mr. Joseph Swanson


    Joe Swanson grew up in St. Paul in the south Como Park and Frogtown areas where he went to school at Como Elementary, St. Adalberts and St. Agnes. As a teenager, Joe used to play basketball, softball and tennis outside the old Washington building (now Wellstone Elementary). The reason Joe got into music was one persistent and inspiring high school teacher who recruited him into the choir. By the time he graduated, Joe was part of an acappella quartet, he had won numerous superior MSHSL solo awards, was the lead in the school musical...and completely sucked into the music thing. Joe went to the University of Minnesota, Duluth and became a Choral Music Education major. While an undergrad and a member of the UMD top choir, he was able to tour to New York (Carnegie Hall), Sweden, Finland, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Austria.


    After graduation, Joe took his first job in the Alden-Conger School District (near the Iowa border) and was there for 2 years. A job opened in St. Paul at Washington Technology Magnet Middle School for a Choir and General Music teacher so he moved back home and took the job. Joe had never had much access to computers and music related technology before but happily dove in. Within a year, he took over the piano class and started evolving the program into what it is today: a technology driven, piano, music literacy and composition class. Now that Washington has grown, Joe is teaching Music Technology full time and has handed over the reins of the Choir program to Ms. French.


    In 1995, Joe earned his Bachelor of Music from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. In 2002 he received his Masters Degree in Learning Technologies from the University of St. Thomas. In 2010 he earned a license endorsement in Computer, Keyboarding, and Related Technology Applications. In 2013 he earned a license endorsement in Drivers Education.


    When he is not teaching, Joe is spending time with his family or throwing himself into hobbies such as computer games, mycology, foraging for edible plants, homebrewing, cooking, archery, and many, many more.


    Conductor Man

    This is the picture that Mr. Swanson had taken as a gift for his mother during his first year of teaching. It was blown up to 2x3 foot size and placed on an easel at the entrance to the Albert Lea mall for over a year. People told Mr. Swanson that they had seen it on display at wedding and trade shows all over the state.  It is how he thought music teacher and conductor photos were supposed to look back then. Mr. Swanson knows better now.