Joshua Smith, Superintendent of Region 15 Public Schools, has announced that Christina O’Neill, Media Specialist at Long Meadow Elementary School (LMES) and 20-year educator in the district, has been chosen to serve as Region 15’s 2019-20 Teacher of the Year.
Mrs. O’Neill has led the Media Center at LMES since 2014, originally hired in 1998 as a Supplemental Instructor Program (SIP) Tutor, and then as a classroom elementary teacher in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades from 2001-2014. She concurrently served as the LMES Technology Instructional Teacher Leader for 6 six years from 2012-2018.
Mrs. O’Neill is kind, compassionate, and curious, all qualities that make her an exceptional educator. Her fellow educators at LMES describe her "knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment to education as impressive and inspiring to those around her." They talk about how she doesn't just simply teach library/media skills to her students, but teaches all of her colleagues at LMES. Her commitment to furthering her professional development education extends to attending conferences during her vacations and seeking opportunities to stay current. She is able to teach children how to navigate the ever changing world of technology and the skills they need to be students and employees of the 21st century.
Recognizing that the library is about more than books, she has expanded the Media center to include Makerspace activities, coding clubs, and Nutmeg Book Bowls. She has served on numerous committees within Region 15, including the digital leadership committee, the math committee and the social studies committee; and has also served on numerous committees at the state level, including the Elementary Nutmeg Committee for 2020 and 2021 and the Charter Oak Children's Book Award Committee. She is also on the board of the CT Association of School Librarians (CASL), and sits on a subcommittee for their annual conference.
This past year, Region 15 has focused on the importance of building schools that are welcoming and inclusive. Much of what Mrs. O’Neill brings to our district embodies that work. She has created a space where students go to feel safe, cared for, and where children know there is an adult that is interested in who they are.
The students and staff at LMES clearly love her and she works hard to ensure that all members of the school community have equitable access to books, information, and information technology.
“A passionate educator, kind, enthusiastic, and collegial -Christina embodies the qualities of a model teacher. It is indeed an honor for us all to celebrate Christina as she so ably and so deservedly represents who we are as Region 15 and great teachers everywhere!” said Smith.