Gateway: News

New college readiness director wants to prepare students for life

Erin O’Neill is the new College and Career Readiness director for the Peninsula School District.
Erin O’Neill is the new College and Career Readiness director for the Peninsula School District. jbessex@gateline.com

Preparing students for further education, college and life beyond is the goal of the educators that work throughout the Peninsula School District.

This preparation is the particular focus of Erin O’Neill, the district’s new director of College, Career and Life Readiness.

“I’m looking forward to bringing some fresh eyes and the really great experiences I’ve had in the past,” O’Neill said. “I really do want to honor the history and all the hard work that’s happened, and bring in some new ideas and some new ways of thinking about things.”

Specifically, O’Neill is passionate about making sure that students graduating high school are “life ready,” with skills in resiliency, knowledge of how to make a good choice, the ability to make sensible financial decisions and perseverance.

I’m looking forward to bringing some fresh eyes and the really great experiences I’ve had in the past. I really do want to honor the history and all the hard work that’s happened and bring in some new ideas and some new ways of thinking about things.

Erin O’Neill, PSD’s new director of Career, College and Life Readiness

In achieving these goals and adding a new aspect to her role, O’Neill is looking forward to starting her time at PSD defining exactly what being “college, career and life ready” means for students in the district at each level.

To do this, O’Neill is planning on conversations and outreach not only with staff and students, but with parents and family to define these terms and what these goals look like for students at every grade.

“Every student is an individual without question, but there are predictors (to success),” O’Neill said. ““What I want is a schedule that allows (students) to fully develop and have insight into what their options are.”

The mother of six children, O’Neill is familiar that paths are different for each student and options and guidance to success must support these variances in life choices.

I just knew after living in the PNW that this was an area where I loved and I thrive. I’m learning a lot about Gig Harbor. I’m finding that it’s really a tight community that certainly wants a great education system and wants the best for their kids.

O’Neill

O’Neill has a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and almost 20 years of experience as an educator and administrator. After living most of her life in Iowa, she moved to the Pacific Northwest for a position with Seattle Public Schools in October 2014 and fell in love with the region.

“I just knew after living in the Pacific Northwest that this was an area where I loved and I thrive,” O’Neill said. “I’m learning a lot about Gig Harbor. I’m finding that it’s really a tight community that certainly wants a great education system and wants the best for their kids.”

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

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