The Council of the Great City Schools announced that it has selected Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael O’Neill, of Charlestown, as a finalist for its 2017 Green-Garner Award that recognizes outstanding leadership among urban school district superintendents and board members.
O’Neill, who is among 11 finalists vying for the nation’s top award in urban education, has made closing opportunity and achievement gaps and creating a more equitable school district for all students the focus of his nearly decade-long tenure on the School Committee.
“I congratulate Michael on being nominated for this award, after his years of stewardship and advocacy on behalf of the Boston Public School system,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “This nomination speaks to the commitment Michael has made to ensuring all students in the Boston Public Schools system receive a great education and graduate with all the opportunity in the world ahead of them.”
A product of Boston Public Schools (BPS) and proud graduate of Boston Latin School, O’Neill was first appointed to the Boston School Committee by the late Mayor Thomas M. Menino in 2008. After serving one year as vice-chair, he was elected chair in 2013 and has been unanimously re-elected as chair by his colleagues on the committee each year since. In January, he was reappointed by Mayor Walsh to his third four-year term, which expires in 2021.
“His knowledge of the city is immense, his loyalty to this district is incredibly deep and his tenacity for advocacy action on behalf of our students is unsurpassed,” said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. “Michael has consistently demonstrated that the public trust is best earned and retained by keeping the public informed and listening to stakeholders throughout the process.”
O’Neill, a lifelong Boston resident, serves on the executive committee of the Council of the Great City Schools, which is the main governing body of the group that represents the nation’s top 70 urban school districts.
A Charlestown resident and executive vice president of Agency 451, a Boston-based marketing firm, O’Neill also serves as chair of the Private Industry Council’s (PIC) Youth Council, overseeing all federal Workforce Investment Act funding for youth efforts.
The Green-Garner Award is named in memory of Richard R. Green, the first African-American chancellor of the New York City school system, and Edward Garner, who served on the Denver school board. The winner, to be announced later today, receives a $10,000 scholarship to present to a student.
Past Boston winners of the award include former School Committee Chairperson Elizabeth Reilinger (2007), as well as former BPS Superintendents Tom Payzant (2004) and Carol Johnson (2012). Former School Committee Chairperson Rev. Gregory Groover was also a finalist.