Patricia O’Neill, the longest serving member of the Montgomery County, Maryland, Board of Education, died Tuesday.
The board’s president, Brenda Wolff, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.
“We have lost an impassioned advocate for children, students and our community,” Wolff said in a statement. “Mrs. O’Neill leaves a legacy of educational excellence that will guide our work for years to come.”
O’Neill, who joined the board in 1998, had been serving her sixth four-year term. Since joining, she served as the board’s president five times, and as its vice president six times. Most recently, she was chairing the board’s Policy Management Committee and was serving on its Fiscal Management Committee.
In addition, her career included time as president of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education and as a co-chair of the Washington Area Boards of Education. O’Neill also served on several education advisory committees.
“Pat O’Neill was a fierce champion for staff, students and families and the impact of her work will live on for generations,” said Monifa McKnight, the interim superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools.
In a statement, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said, “Montgomery County lost a leader, public servant, and compassionate resident who was determined to make this County a better place for current and future generations. To honor her legacy, we need to continue the work she dedicated her life to.”
Funeral services are pending.