|Board member, Appleton Board of Education, At-large|
|Elections and appointments|
|Next general||April 1, 2014|
|Bachelor's||University of Wisconsin-Madison|
|Master's||University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh|
O'Connor earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He later received a Master's degree in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. O'Connor worked as a principal at Appleton North High School prior to his retirement. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity. O'Connor also serves as a member of the Appleton Career Academy Board of Governance.
As of January 27, 2014, O'Connor has not reported any campaign contributions or expenditures to the district office. State law allows candidates to claim exempt status from campaign finance reporting if contributions and expenditures do not exceed $1,000 during a calendar year.
As of January 27, 2014, O'Connor has not received any official endorsements for his campaign.
O'Connor's campaign website listed the following themes for 2014:
Emphasize Fiscal Responsibility
The Appleton School District has performed above the state averages on many measures while spending below the 'per pupil' and 'tax rate' averages. Meeting the needs of the wide variety of students who enter its doors is a complicated challenge requiring experienced, thoughtful, and focused leadership. My experience as the principal of one of our fine high schools will be helpful not only in understanding the potential of proposed programs, but also to balance the benefits against the costs.
As principal, I managed the budget of an organization that involved 130+ employees, 1700 students, and 3000 parents. This organization was focused on a critical purpose, the education of our community's and our families' most important asset, our children. Each year, I worked with a team of staff members to allocate our budget resources to produce the greatest impact on our students. We did not spend beyond what was needed, and every year we had unspent funds that we carried over to the next budget cycle. This practice of conserving resources that do not have a clear purpose, will serve the taxpayers of the Appleton School District well.
A long time interest in financial matters led me to take, and pass, the exams for the Certified Financial Planner designation. This has helped me in my own planning and helped me appreciate what others are facing. I know that taxpayers struggling with their own budgets need to have confidence that expenditures will strengthen our community, attract businesses and families, and effectively prepare our children for the future.
I think my experienced approach to financial decision making will serve the citizens of the Appleton School District well.
Improve Technology Education
Selecting and buying new technology authorized by the taxpayers is only part of the task ahead. Assuring that teachers and students make the greatest possible use of it for learning is the most important challenge.
The use of technology to research, analyze, problem solve, present ideas, communicate, collaborate, design, and create is becoming a part of everyday life and a requirement of the workplace. Ensuring that our students can work with all forms of current technology and be comfortable adapting to the constantly emerging new technologies is a necessity.
I have hired many technology education teachers, overseen the addition of welding and small engine repair facilities at North, purchased and developed new equipment in many departments that have enhanced instruction and opportunities for students. More importantly, I understand what is required to train staff members so they are able to embed the use of these tools in the their instructional practices and in their students' efforts to learn and grow.
This is not to overlook other skills needed by the future citizens, parents, and employees of the 21st century. Reading, writing, mathematics, public speaking, leadership, artistic expression, and interpersonal confidence are also very important. We can and must create experiences that develop all of these in our graduates.
Attract and Retain Quality Staff
I will work to maintain a good relationship between AASD staff and the Board of Education, encourage positive climates in our buildings, and recognize the accomplishments of employees, while maintaining high expectations of myself as a board member and our staff as educators. Finding and retaining top quality educators will be a growing challenge as fewer young people see teaching as a respected profession. Educating children will always be a human intensive effort that requires skills in connecting with and motivating many different personalities. We need to attract the best to this profession and to our school district.
Preserve Charter Schools
I support charter schools for two reasons: they provide alternate ways to meet the needs of different kinds of learners and they serve as incubators for alternative instructional practices. As Appleton North principal, I led the effort of a group of dedicated staff members to create the Appleton Career Academy, a personalized learning environment that focuses on career development, leadership development, and integrated learning. Charter schools are best when they are part of a supportive public system, are expected to work with all students, and are subject to the same assessments as all schools.
Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.
What's at stake?
Incumbents Diane Barkmeier and Sharon Fenlon are seeking re-election against John DeVantier and O'Connor. Fenlon has served on the board since 1987 and Barkmeier was first elected to the board in 1996.
About the district
- See also: Appleton Area School District, Wisconsin
Appleton outperformed the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 31.2% of Appleton residents aged 25 years and older had attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 26.4% for Wisconsin as a whole. The median household income in Appleton was $52,605 compared to $52,627 for the state of Wisconsin. The poverty rate in Appleton was 10.5% compared to 12.5% for the entire state.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Barry + O'Connor + Appleton + Area + School + District"
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- Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, "Our Board of Directors," accessed January 27, 2014
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Campaign Finance Overview: Local Candidates," May 2010
- Committee to Elect Barry O'Connor, "Issues," accessed February 24, 2014
- Kathy Walsh Nufer, Appleton Post-Crescent, "Diane Barkmeier, Sharon Fenlon, Spencer Rotzel and John Gosling vie for three Appleton school board seats," March 31, 2011
- United States Census Bureau, "Appleton, Wisconsin," accessed January 27, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed January 27, 2014
- Outagamie County Elections, "Elections Information," accessed January 27, 2014
|2014 Appleton Area School District Elections|
|Election date:||April 1, 2014|
|Candidates:||At-large: • Diane Barkmeier • John DeVantier • Sharon Fenlon • Barry O'Connor|
|Important information:||What's at stake? • Key deadlines • Additional elections on the ballot|