The Ohio School Boards Association Southwest Region named Butler Tech instructor Thomas O’Neill as “Outstanding Faculty Member for 2017” at its spring conference on March 14. In addition, the Butler Tech Board of Education was awarded Gold Level Recognition for the Effective School Board Award.
Mr O’Neill has been a Butler Tech instructor since 2001. He is based at Ross High School where he teaches Computer and Mobile Applications, Computer Hardware, Information Technology, Network Security, Networking and Web Design. His students benefit from a wealth of experience in the private and public sector supporting IT and project management needs for a variety of industries.
“Mr. O’Neill is one of the best teachers I’ve seen in the field,” said Amy Webb, Butler Tech supervisor for programs in Fairfield and Ross schools. “His problem-based approach to learning carries out to critical thinking application and solutions among his students. What his students are learning far exceeds past their high school careers.”
The Butler Tech Information Technology students at Ross were recently named national finalists in a technology and entrepreneurship challenge run by Samsung. Working across disciplines, the students developed a school safety mobile application that could improve response to many emergency situations. Their hardware and software solution streamlines communication among school administrators and first responders. It also incorporates early-warning technology that can interface with gunfire detection systems and metal detectors.
Mr. O’Neill’s students design their projects to operate as viable commercial products that solve real-world challenges. The students participate in Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE), where Mr. O’Neill says his students have won national competitions hosted by SAGE a half-dozen times and have placed in the top five internationally several times.
“This product is one that, when complete and ready for market, could easily be a multi-million dollar product,” Mr. O’Neill said of the school safety app. “Any funds that are generated…those funds go to (the students). They create revenue streams for themselves, and many times end up, before they go to college, paying for college because of these companies.”
Mr. O’Neill currently serves on the Board for the Hamilton Mill, a regional business incubator. He is a member of the Computer Science Teachers Association and Education Without Borders.
The Butler Tech Board of Education was also honored with the Gold Effective School Board Award in recognition for its outstanding work with the community and school administrators in achieving district goals. Board members include: Michael Berding, Board President (Fairfield City Schools); Pete Robinson, Board Vice President (Madison Local Schools); Jim Detzel (Northwest Local Schools); Brett Guido (Monroe Local Schools); Keith Klinefelter (Ross Local Schools); Ray Murray (Lakota Local Schools); Sue Price (New Miami Local Schools); Gregory Tyus (Middletown City Schools); Lois Vollmer (Talawanda Schools); and Tom York (Edgewood City Schools). Past Board members who served during the evaluation period include Jim Miller (Edgewood) and Lynda O’Connor (Lakota).
The Ohio School Boards Association Southwest Region represents 17 counties including: Adams, Brown, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby and Warren.