James McSwain

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • Assistant Professor of Education
  • Director, Professional Certifications and Degrees Program Coordinator
  • Director, Educational Administration (MEd)


  • BA, History, University of Texas at Arlington
  • MEd, Education Administration, Tarleton State University
  • EdD, Educational Leadership, Texas Tech University

Courses Taught

  • Interpersonal Communications and Public Relations
  • Cultural Competence for Educational Leaders
  • Public Policy in Education
  • Program Evaluation
  • Accountability and Measurement
  • Instructional Leadership and Evaluation
  • The Role of the Principal
  • School Personnel Leadership
  • School Business Management and Finance
  • School Law
  • Public School Organization and Administration
  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • Applied Research in Education
  • District Finance, Plant Planning and Management
  • Dissertation Research
  • Internship in the Principalship
  • Field Experience in Executive Educational Leadership
  • Seminar in Educational Leadership
  • Clinical Teaching

Teaching Focus

Dr. McSwain brings to the faculty forty years of experience and practical application of leadership skills in educational settings.  He concentrates on helping aspiring and executive leaders combine research-based knowledge with human understanding and compassion in an effort to create highly effective organizations.  He tries to exemplify the philosophy that “Leadership is not about being in charge of people; rather, it is about taking care of the people in your charge”.

Research Interest and Publications

Dr. McSwain has a history of working with and caring for teenage students.  He has been especially passionate about efforts to reach those who have been overlooked by society and face extreme obstacles at a young age.  He has worked to help break down barriers to learning often experienced by young people of poverty and those with differences.

  • McSwain, J. (1995). Cooperative alternative program: A study of program effect on the dropout rate, TAAS exit mastery rate, and attendance rate among identified Hispanic at-risk high school students. Doctoral Dissertation. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
  • Casey, Arthur C. Jr., McSwain, James A. (1990, March). “Cooperative Alternative Program: A Plan for Dropout Prevention,” NRSSC/ACRES National Convention, Tucson, Arizona.
  • Casey, A., McSwain, J., & Beach, D. (1993, November). The cooperative alternative program high school: A dropout prevention plan. NASSP Bulletin. 77, 556. pp. 105-108.
  • Casey, S., Wiese, L., & McSwain, J. (1995, Spring). A successful alternative . . . Coleman ISD – A plan for dropout prevention. Texas Study of Secondary Education. 4, 2. p. 12.
  • Beach, D.., & McSwain, J. (2015). “An Introduction and Interview with Dr. James McSwain and Mentally Healthy Schools” Journal of the Effective Schools Project. 22, p. 8

Awards and Honors

  • Tarleton State University, Department of Education, Crystal Apple Society – Admission for Distinguished Service in the Field of Education │2016
  • Nick Finnegan Foundation Angels Among Us Award in Community Service │ 2014
  • Texas Music Educators Association – Distinguished Administrator Award │ 2011
  • Region IV High School Principal of the Year – 2009 • Rotary International Service Award │ 2010
  • Texas State Principal of the Year – Texas Association of Journalism Educators │2004
  • Outstanding Alumni – Tarleton State University │1998
  • Texas State Principal of the Year – Texas Association of Secondary School Principals │1996
  • Outstanding Principal – Region VIII Texas Association of Secondary School Principals │1996
  • Wilbur Award Nominee, Leadership Texarkana │1996
  • Outstanding Alumni – Education Department Nominee, Tarleton State University │ 1991
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Tarrant County Chapter, Sponsor of the Year │ 1981, 1982

Previous Academic/Professional

  • University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX, Adjunct Faculty
  • Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX, Adjunct Faculty                                                                                                               
  • University of Houston – Main Campus, Houston, TX, Adjunct Faculty
  • Texas A&M- Texarkana, Texarkana, TX, Adjunct Faculty

Additional Information

Dr. McSwain has two sons, one daughter, and four grandchildren. His children and family have always been his priority. In recent years and after the loss of his oldest son, he has had the opportunity for outreach to other parents of similar experience. His other interests include dogs and muscle cars.

Other professional and religious positions of service have included:

  • Grapevine-Colleyville ISD – Teacher
  • Stephenville ISD – Teacher
  • Coleman ISD – Alternative High School Principal
  • Colorado ISD – High School Principal
  • Texarkana ISD – High School Principal
  • Houston ISD – Lead Principal and Area Superintendent
  • International Baccalaureate Organization – Authorization Team Leader, Program Consultant, Workshop Trainer
  • Texas Education Agency – Mentor Principal
  • Texas Association of Secondary School Principals – Past President and Board of Trustees
  • First Baptist Church of Euless – Youth Sunday School Teacher
  • First Baptist Church of Stephenville – Youth Sunday School Teacher
  • First United Methodist Church of Coleman – Youth Sunday School Teacher
  • First United Methodist Church of Colorado City – Adult Sunday School Coordinator
  • First Baptist Church of Texarkana – Young Single Adult Sunday School Teacher
  • Houston’s First Baptist Church – Single Adult Sunday School Teacher, Safe Harbor Sunday School Class