The Ottumwa Board of Education approved a recommendation to hire Michaela Pirnat O’Connell as the principal of the Pickwick Early Childhood Center earlier this month. She will begin her duties July 1.
O’Connell received her AA degree from Kirkwood Community College, a bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa, and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Viterbo University. She has worked for the Des Moines Public School and private preschool programs. She currently is working one year as an assistant language teacher in Kofu, Japan.
“My decision to apply for a position in Ottumwa was driven by my love for Iowa and the wonderful work that the Ottumwa Community School District is doing to provide a quality education to all of its students,” said O’Connell. “My hope for being a part of opening Pickwick Early Childhood Center is to be a model of early childhood education for the city and state. The early learning years are vital to a student’s future success. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to support an excellent staff as we partner with Head Start to provide research-based education and care to the young learners of Ottumwa. Collaborating with Head Start will provide our community with the resources and support we need to reach every child and every family. This is an exciting change that will prove beneficial to the students that we serve at Pickwick Early Childhood Center as well as the entire community.”
“Michaela has strong early childhood experiences in both statewide voluntary preschool and Head Start,” said Sarah McGlothlen, the district’s Director of Elementary Education. “She has a desire to work with diverse populations and comes with a wealth of experience in that area. She currently is teaching in Japan, putting herself and her family in the same shoes as families she worked with in the Des Moines Public School district.”