MacDuffie Welcomes New Mathematics Teacher

Dima Aboukasm, Social Media Editor

This year, MacDuffie has added a new member to the mathematics department, Nancy Swol. She teaches two Honors Algebra classes, two Geometry classes, and a Pre-Algebra course. Swol has been teaching for 30 years and retired from teaching at public school last year.

Previously, Swol taught middle school for 15 years in both the Ludlow and Chicopee public school systems, as well as 15 years of high school at Ludlow High School. She decided to teach at MacDuffie because she wanted to try out something different.

“I thought it would be a nice change, something different, new, and exciting. And it is very different, I’m really enjoying it,” Swol said.

Swol said that her favorite topic to teach in math is geometry.

“You can incorporate art into geometry, and I enjoy that. I enjoy being able to do projects with the students that involve art in some way,” Swol explained.

Besides her extensive experience in teaching mathematics, Swol also has another job. She owns a pet shop.

The shop is called Your Pet’s Choice, located in Southwick, Massachusetts, and she co-owns it alongside her husband, Rob.

Swol explained that her husband originally went to college and studied physical education, with the hopes of becoming a gym teacher. However, at the time, there was a surplus of teachers, so he ended up becoming the manager of a pet shop. Later on, Rob decided to purchase his very own pet shop.

At one point, Swol and her husband owned a chain of pet stores called The Puppy Center.

An image of Zywy looking very proud in his cage!
Image provided by Nancy Swol.

“It’s fun doing two different things. I work there [at the pet store] sometimes, but not as much as I did before because now I have a new job, “ Swol said.

Considering that Swol owns a petshop, it makes sense that she owns some interesting pets.She currently owns a cockatiel named Zywy, which means “alive” in Polish, although it is spelled differently. The story behind Zywy’s name is that Swol and her husband actually saved him.

“We saved his life. His mother abandoned him, so my husband had to feed him with a dropper, but he’s a very happy bird. He’s happy to be alive,” Swol said.

She also currently has a 150-gallon aquarium at her home which holds tropical fish.

Not surprisingly, Swol has had many other pets at home in the past.

“I used to have more pets than I have now, but now the kids are out of the house. We’ve had every pet you can imagine when the kids were growing up. We had iguanas, we had a large parrot, an African gray parrot, two dogs, and more, “ Swol recounted.

Swol is not only a mother to her pets, but also a mother of two. She has been married to her husband, Rob,  for almost 40 years and they have two kids. She has a daughter named Amy, who works as a paramedic, and a son named Brian, who is a web developer and a graphic designer.

Overall, Swol has been enjoying her time at MacDuffie this year.

“I’m enjoying MacDuffie very much. I really like the kids, the students are interesting, and it’s really interesting meeting kids from different parts of the country and the world, so I’m enjoying that. The faculty is really nice too, “ Swol said.