Barry O'Connor

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Barry O'Connor
Barry O'Connor.jpg
Board member, Appleton Board of Education, At-large
Term ends
May 2017
Years in position 1
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 1, 2014
First electedApril 1, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Master'sUniversity of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
ProfessionRetired educator
Campaign website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Barry O'Connor is an at-large member of the Appleton Board of Education in Wisconsin. He won election to the board in the general election on April 1, 2014.


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.[1]



See also: Appleton Area School District elections (2014)


Barry O'Connor ran against incumbents Diane Barkmeier and Sharon Fenlon and challenger John DeVantier during the general election on April 1, 2014.


Appleton Area School District, At-large General Election, 3-year term, April 1, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSharon Fenlon Incumbent 27.3% 4,183
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDiane Barkmeier Incumbent 27.2% 4,172
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBarry O'Connor 27.2% 4,164
     Nonpartisan John DeVantier 17.8% 2,731
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.5% 80
Total Votes 15,330
Source: Information submitted to Ballotpedia through e-mail from Kimm Smith on May 12, 2014.


O'Connor did not report any campaign contributions or expenditures to the school board secretary by the March 24 pre-election reporting deadline.[2] 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.[3]


O'Connor did not receive any official endorsements for his campaign.

Campaign themes


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. [4]

—Barry O'Connor's campaign website, (2014), [5]

About the district

See also: Appleton Area School District, Wisconsin
Appleton Area School District is located in Appleton, Wisconsin
Appleton Area School District is located in Appleton, Wisconsin, the county seat of Outagamie County. According to the United States Census Bureau, Appleton is home to 72,635 residents.[6] Appleton Area School District is the sixth-largest school district in Wisconsin, serving 15,194 students during the 2010-2011 school year.[7]


Appleton outperformed the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 31.2 percent of Appleton residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.4 percent 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 percent compared to 12.5 percent for the entire state.[6]

Racial Demographics, 2010[6]
Race Appleton (%) Wisconsin (%)
White 87.5 86.2
Black or African American 1.7 6.3
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 1.0
Asian 5.9 2.3
Two or More Races 2.0 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 5.0 5.9

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[8]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 48.2 50.0
2008 54.9 43.3

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[9]

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