Bridget O'ConnellConnected Leadership Academy is led by six superintendents and top district leaders who have walked the walk of digital transformations in their own school districts. They’ll share stories about how they overcame challenges and made the digital shift in real life. Today we’re asking Dr. Bridget O’Connell, Superintendent of Palisades School District some questions about what it means to be a future ready leader, and why district leaders shouldn’t miss out on the Connected Leadership Academy.

What does being a future ready leader mean to you?

It means that I have made a commitment to students that my efforts will focus around creating engaging learning opportunities, providing professional development to support teacher’s work in the classroom, and finding ways to ensure students have access to learning opportunities at home.

What is collaborative leadership?

Working with your internal team and external network to set vision, solve problems and create engaging and relevant learning opportunities for students.

What is the most important attribute of a future ready leader? Why?

Future ready school leaders possess a drive to create engaging, personalized and innovative learning opportunities for students.

What is the most important step in the process of digital conversion?

The first step is setting the vision for what digital learning looks like in your community, clearly and repeatedly communicating the value of that vision and encouraging those working to make the vision a reality.

What is important to remember when facing challenges around digital conversion?

There will be challenges around digital conversion…it is important to remember that our challenges are not unique and that our external network of connected educators can be relied on to offer support and recommendations.


Who is this academy for?

District leaders that are looking to expand their professional network to include colleagues that are on the same path to a digital conversion.

If someone was on the fence about participating, what would you say to them?

I would encourage them to check out the website on Future Ready Schools, take the assessment and rely on the Academy to further support their digital conversion….and of course that I have met the facilitators and they are a great group of administrators that are passionate about educating students.

Get involved and join us at the kickoff event this September

Districts need a strategic, common sense plan to guide their path toward digital transformation.Connected Leadership Academy is the answer. You’ll benefit from other superintendents who have been there, and learn from their mistakes and challenges.

Start transforming your district now.

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About Dr. O’Connell

Bridget O'ConnellDr. Bridget O’Connell has been the Superintendent of Palisades School District since 2011; she served as the Assistant Superintendent responsible for Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction prior to assuming the Superintendent’s position.  The school district she leads covers one-hundred square miles and is mainly a rural area encompassing approximately 9,000 households.  Student achievement remains an important goal for Dr. O’Connell and the Palisades School District.  To that end, Dr. O’Connell has led the charge to offer more flexible scheduling for students through providing on line course options as part of the district’s rigorous curriculum.  Under her stewardship, student achievement has continued to surpass benchmarks set for public schools by the state of Pennsylvania and the district’s standardized test scores remain high. Preparing students for their future, whether they attend a post-secondary institution, enter the military or become part of the workforce is the mission of the district under Bridget’s leadership.

Dr. O’Connell has received numerous awards during her tenure as Superintendent.  Most recently, she was awarded both the Leadership Excellence Award and the 2013 Real Heroes Award by the Red Cross for her commitment to providing food and shelter to the residents of Palisades during Hurricane Sandy.  She has also received the Blended Schools Leadership Award by the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development for her leadership in providing online courses and the Cooperative Leadership Award by the National School Development Council. Dr. O’Connell continues her affiliation with Lehigh University through serving as the 1995 Class Correspondent and teaching as an adjunct professor in the College of Education.

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During a 25-year education career, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, university instructor and digital learning consultant. Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and communities through the Connected Learner Experience and other e-learning opportunities. She is the author (with Lani Ritter Hall) of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2012) and serves on the ISTE Board of Directors.
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