Bridget O’Connell, Ed.D.

Superintendent
Palisades School District
(610) 847-5131
boconnell@palisd.org

Proven student-centered leadership with a focus on academic excellence, customized
learning, and community collaboration in promoting the mission of the Palisades School
District.

Current Experience

Palisades School District, Kintnersville, PA – Superintendent
August 2011 – PRESENT

  • PA Superintendent of the Year 2022
  • Reopened the district for both in-person (5 days a week) and remote instruction at the beginning of the 2020 school year
  • Implemented one to one Chromebook initiative and learning management system 6th – 12th grade during the 2017 school year which supported the district in reopening remotely during 2020 school closures
  • Serve as district Pandemic Coordinator and lead for the development of Health and Safety Plan
  • Implement programs and instructional practices that focus on the learning needs of all students (Palisades Cyber Academy, Blended Instruction, Career Pathways)
  • Oversee the development and implementation of $42M annual budget
  • Supervise and develop a cohesive, dynamic team of building and district administrators
  • Focus on School Board professional development including: new board orientation, board roles and responsibilities, health care reform, special education, negotiations, local board legislative advocacy, and handbook development
  • Serve as Act 44 School Safety and Security Coordinator
  • Engage in ongoing outreach and engagement with community organizations and partners
  • Maintain active relationships with local, state and U.S. elected officials in order to successfully advocate on behalf of the district
  • Coordinated high school and college certificates of completion aligned with pathway programs
  • Organized and served as panelist on Town Hall on Safety and Security (November 2018)
  • Represented the Palisades School District at President Obama’s launch of
    Future Ready initiative and Superintendents’ Summit at the White House (November, 2014)
  • Launched opening day program for all Palisades employees focused on community service #paliserves
  • Created Pennsylvania State Police Workspace at Palisades High School – First in state (2013)
  • Facilitated fiscal, academic and voting region transfer of Riegelsville Borough (formerly Easton Area School District) residents into the Palisades School District (2012)
  • Intern Advisor for Superintendent Letter of Eligibility
  • Dissertation Advisor for candidates seeking doctoral degrees

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA – Adjunct Professor
August 2008 – PRESENT

  • Course Title: Curriculum Management for the School Executive
  • Serve as doctoral dissertation committee member (2010, 2013, 2017, 2020) for Lehigh candidates

District Awards and Achievements

2012 – PRESENT

  • Tinicum Elementary School – National Blue Ribbon School (2021)
  • US News and World Report – Top 100 Best High Schools in PA (2021)
  • Outstanding Visual Arts Community (October 2020) Pennsylvania Art Education Association
  • Best Communities for Music Education in the nation (2020 and 2021) NAMM Foundation
  • Palisades High School World Language Department- PSMLA Exemplary Program Award for 2019-2021. (March 2020) Pennsylvania Modern Language Association
  • District 11 Champions – Baseball – Spring 2021
  • Colonial League Champions – Wrestling – Winter 2021
  • Cross Country State Champion – Tom Smigo – Fall 2021
  • District 11 – 2A Champions – Football – Fall 2020
  • School-wide Positive Behavior Intervention Support Recognition (2020) Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support (PAPBS) Network
  • Recipient of $25,000 Teacher in the Workplace state grant to enhance pathway programs at the high school (January 2020)
  • Palisades High School recognized by U.S. News as a top 2000 high school in the nation (2020, 2019,2015)
  • Palisades High School (7 years), Palisades Middle School (2 years) and Durham Nockamixon Elementary School (1 year) continue to fulfill obligations to maintain No Place for Hate designations by the Anti-Defamation League
  • Newsweek Top STEM High School 2020
  • Recognized as a Don Eichhorn School to Watch – Palisades Middle School (February 2019)
  • Recipient of $177,000 PA Educational Access Grant to implement 1:1 in grades 6-12 (2016-17 school year)
  • Featured district in United States Department of Education – Office of Ed Tech: Future Ready Leadership https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhdwy3ASoEfku27IJ2HAKTJh-ACanSPsg
  • Advanced Placement District Honor Roll (2018) – for increasing access to AP courses while maintaining or improving scores
  • Pennsylvania Department of Education: Keystone Awards for achieving AYP in all buildings for 10 consecutive years
  • Federal Designation as a Reward – High Achievement School for Durham Nockamixon Elementary School
  • District selected as a PA LEADS grant recipient for work in the area of Standards Aligned Systems (SAS) and collaboration
  • Recognized by American Red Cross for outstanding community support and collaboration while serving for eight days as a shelter in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (2013)
  • Outstanding Contribution to Blended Learning Award (2012) for Palisades Cyber Academy
  • Selected as feature location for Blended Learning Annual Jubilee celebration (2012)

Previous Experience

Palisades School District, Kintnersville, PA – Assistant Superintendent
2007 – 2011

  • Primary responsibilities included: K-12 curriculum development, student assessment and professional development
  • Co-Chaired the Palisades School District Education Programs and Services Committee
  • Acted on Superintendent’s behalf when he was out of the district
  • Facilitated state and federal grants including: Title I, Title II and Accountability Block Grant

Quakertown Community School District, Quakertown, PA – Supervisor of Curriculum and Federal Programs
2005 – 2007

  • Primary responsibilities included: K-12 curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development
  • Facilitated state and federal grants including: Title I, Title II and Accountability Block Grant

Palisades School District, Kintnersville, PA – Acting Assistant to the Superintendent
2004 – 2005

  • Primary responsibilities included: K-12 curriculum development, student assessment and professional development
  • Co-Chaired the Palisades School District Education Programs and Services Committee
  • Acted on Superintendent’s behalf when he was out of the district

Palisades High School, Kintnersville, PA – Assistant Principal
2003 – 2004

  • Primary responsibilities included: 9-12 curriculum, instruction, teacher evaluation and student behavior management

Palisades High School, Kintnersville, PA – Teacher and Coach
1997 – 2003

  • Teaching responsibilities included courses in: English, social studies, gifted education and Technology/Media Academy
  • Boys and Girls Head Cross Country Coach

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA – Men’s and Women’s Assistant Track Coach
1995-1997

  • Primary responsibilities included: coaching men’s and women’s sprints and hurdles at Division 1 level, recruiting athletes according to NCAA recruiting regulations

Degrees and Certifications

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA – Certificate in Leadership Dynamics
2015

Cornell University: School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Ithaca, NY
Master’s Certificate in Human Resources
2012

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA – Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership
2007

  • Dissertation: Superintendents’ Knowledge of Teacher Evaluation Law

(Dr. Perry Zirkel, advisor)

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA – Master of Education, Secondary Education
1997

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA – Bachelor of Arts 1995
Double major in English and Anthropology (with honors)

  • Captain of Women’s Track and Field Team
  • Lehigh University Scholar Athlete and Patriot League Scholar Athlete

Pennsylvania Department of Education, Harrisburg, PA – Certifications include: Superintendent Letter of Eligibility, Assistant Superintendent Letter of

Eligibility, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Secondary Principal, English 7-12 and Social Studies 7-12

Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)– Master Scuba Diver
2017

Personal Awards and Achievements

2012 – PRESENT

  • PA Superintendent of the Year (2022)
  • Citation from the PA House of Representatives (Sponsor Shelby Labs) for PA Superintendent of the Year recognition (2021)
  • Commendation from Bucks County Board of Commissioners for PA Superintendent of the Year recognition (2021)
  • Outstanding Service Award (Bucks County Intermediate Unit) (December 2019) • Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) Conference Presenter – High School Career Pathway Programs: Rationale, Design and Future Planning (March 2019)
  • Easton High School Wall of Fame Inductee (2016)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences Top 5 To Watch in 2015
  • American Academy of School Administrators (AASA) Annual Conference Presenter – Leadership in the Information Age: A Changing Role for Superintendents (2015)
  • Citation from PA Senate (Sponsor: Bob Mensch) for Palisades School District representation at White House (2014)
  • Blended Schools Network Leadership Award (2013)
  • Bucks County Board of Commissioners Letter of Commendation for Real Hero of Bucks County (2013)
  • Citation from the PA House of Representatives (Sponsor: Marguerite C. Quinn) and the PA Senate (Sponsors: Charles J. McIlhinney, Jr., Bob Mensch, and Robert M. Tomlinson) for Community Partner Hero Award (2013)
  • The American Red Cross, Southeast PA Chapter Leadership Excellence and Guiding Inspiration Award (2012)
  • National Staff Development Council Cooperative Leadership Award (2012)

Current Affiliations and Memberships

  • American Association of School Administrators (AASA) – Board of Governors
  • Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) – Board of Governors and Resolutions Committee
  • St. Luke’s Hospital Quakertown Campus – Board of Trustees
  • Lehigh University School Study Council – Executive Council Member
  • DaVinci Science Center – Board of Trustees
  • Springfield Township (Bucks County) Lions’ Club
  • Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA)
  • American Society of Curriculum Development (ASCD)
  • Lehigh University Alumni Association: Class correspondent

Continuing Education

  • AASA/PASA National Superintendent Certification Program (2021)
  • Pennsylvania Department of Education Superintendent Academy (2017)
  • Google Superintendent and Curriculum Leadership Symposium (by invitation) NYC, NY
  • Connected Superintendents Technical Working Group (by invitation) – U.S. Department of Education – Washington, D.C.
  • The Education Policy and Leadership Center – 2014 PA Education Policy Fellow
  • Emergency Management Institute – FEMA – Introduction to Incident Command
  • Harvard Institute for Superintendents – Cambridge, MA
  • Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) New Superintendents’ Academy – Harrisburg, PA
  • Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) – Mechanicsburg, PA courses in negotiations, PSBA Board/Superintendent Roles and Responsibilities, and PSBA Board Self-Assessment

Presentations

  • PASA National Superintendent Certification Program presentation – Creating and sustaining career pathway advisories (June 2021)
  • Lehigh School Study Council panel participant – Leadership in a pandemic: how we, as superintendents, think process, cope and persist personally as a leader (May 2021)
  • Pennsylvania School Administrators (PASA) Conference: EdTalk and Presenter (March 2019)
  • Lehigh Study Council: Safety and Security – Panelist (November 2018)
  • Palisades School District: Town Hall on Safety and Security (November 2018)
  • PA Standards Aligned Systems (SAS) Conference: College and Career Readiness – December 2018
  • Technical Education: Featured Upper Buck County Technical School – City of Yentai, Shandong Province, China
  • Raise Your Game: The Power of Female Leaders on and off the Field – panelist at Lehigh University Conference
  • Leadership in the Information Age: A Changing Role for Superintendents – American Association of School Administrators National Conference
  • The Transition to Digital Learning in the Palisades School District – Future Ready Summit, Baltimore, MD
  • Empowered Leadership: Promoting a Culture of Capacity Building – Future Ready Webcast
  • Leadership with Google Apps – Digital Ready at Google NYC
  • Palisades School District Security – Presented to Palisades Community Emergency Management Team including: PA State Police, Springfield Township Police, Tinicum Township Police, Upper Bucks Emergency Services, Township Managers (5), First Due Fire Companies (3), & State and Federal Legislators
  • Challenges Facing Public Education – Presented to Lehigh University College of Education: International School

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