Dr. Patrick O’Toole (’79), named 2012 Superintendent of the Year by Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, will return to Clarion University May 18 to deliver both the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. commencement addresses at Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium.
In his address, “Leadership, Learning, and Opportunity,” O’Toole, superintendent of Upper St. Clair School District near Pittsburgh since 2007, will encourage graduates to seek the opportunities that come through personal leadership and learning, as evidenced through his own career.
“My selection (as commencement speaker) is an example to students that we are not finished products on graduation day,” O’Toole said.
One of the most inspiring moments in his education, and one that has guided his career as an educator, happened in a Clarion University classroom: “A college professor once gave me feedback that I could be a ‘good teacher’ by being technically sound, but if I wanted to be a ‘great teacher,’ I must demonstrate to students a passion and love for learning.”
His dedication to education was singled out in his nomination for the Superintendent of the Year recognition. Under O’Toole’s leadership, Upper St. Clair School District has consistently been ranked among the top districts in Pennsylvania and has been number one among western Pennsylvania school districts for several years in a row.
O’Toole graduated from Clarion University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He subsequently earned master’s and doctorate degrees in education from University of Pittsburgh.
O’Toole’s family has an extensive history with Clarion University. His grandmother (Mary Schierberl 1909), parents (the late Michael J. ’51 and Mary C. O’Toole ’48) and two siblings (Michael J. O’Toole Jr. ’76 and Erin M. Brannon ’86) are Clarion alumni. Michael Sr. served as a trustee from 1961 to 1965. Mary was a trustee from 1973 to 1984, as well as a board member of Clarion University Foundation, Inc., from 1978 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1983.
Students from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business Administration will graduate at the 10 a.m. ceremony, and students from the College of Education and Human Services, School of Nursing and Allied Health and division of Student Affairs will graduate at the 2 p.m. ceremony.
Clarion University is the high-achieving, nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a personal and challenging academic experience.