Tara O’Neill is in her seventh year of teaching 7th grade science in Meriden, where she focuses on enhancing students’ educational, social and emotional outcomes while acting as a cross-curricular teacher leader. Tara is a driving force in creating a positive school climate, providing educator development, and implementing district wide improvement.
As an exemplary educator, Tara puts building and maintaining relationships with students and colleagues at the top of her priority list. Tara believes that in order to ensure student success, educators must consider each student as a whole person, developing lessons that address their social and emotional development in tandem with academic skills and content. She is a member of the district’s Restorative Community of Practice and provides professional development to teachers across secondary schools in Meriden.
In addition to a dedication to self-improvement, Tara has worked to develop and implement Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned curriculum at the district level, and at the state level. Tara works to continually improve her own professional practice through research, development and participation in Connecticut-based and online Professional Learning Communities. She has been paramount in the maturation of the Quinnipiac University Science Teaching and Learning Center (QUeST-LC). In this role, Tara has provided professional development to teachers K-12 in 36 districts across Connecticut.
Her unique ability to connect with others and understand the bigger picture in her work has allowed Tara to share her passions within Meriden and throughout the state. She not only serves as a teacher of distinction in the minds of the students, but is a continual source of inspiration for her fellow educators.