#FridayFeature: Katie Bevis-O’Neal

Katie Bevis-O’Neal is no stranger to District #7. She attended the schools, served as a middle school teacher and coach for 14 years, and now is the interim principal at Albert Cassens Elementary School.

Bevis-O’Neal makes the move to Cassens after a semester as the District’s administrative intern. She began her career in District #7 by teaching seventh grade for two years followed by 12 years of sixth-grade science.

Bevis-O’Neal, who comes from a family of educators, credits her fifth-grade teacher at Columbus as the reason for her career in education.

“She made learning fun and was working just as hard as we were, so it was easy to see the difference she made in my life. Because of that I knew I wanted to make that same difference in another child’s life someday.”

Having grown up in Edwardsville (her family moved here in 1993) and the opportunity to raise her family in this community is a huge reason that she has stayed in District #7 for the length of her career.

“I love this community and it is such a wonderful place to raise kids. I always think of myself being a kid and being raised in this community and I’ve always wanted my kids to go to the school in the community I work in. Being able to live right here in Edwardsville and to raise my children in this community makes it really easy to stay here.”

Bevis-O’Neal credits her leadership skills as one of the reasons she wanted to make the move from the classroom to administration.

“Whether it has come from my coaching experience or even my time as an athlete when I was younger, I’ve always felt that I’ve had leadership skills. Those skills will be valuable to help our teachers grow so they are continuing to provide the best education for our students in District #7. So while I’m not necessarily hands on with the students, I am secondary hands on and I know I can help the teachers be the best they can be.”

It’s those leadership skills and traits that Bevis-O’Neal is looking to bring to Cassens, along with excitement and relationship building. She is also focused on students and their growth.

“Our goal is to have Cassens elementary students succeed and grow in all aspects of life. Obviously academically, but we also want to see them grow as students and individuals.”

Bevis-O’Neal is excited to be at Cassens and has already hit the ground running.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know the families, the students and working with the wonderful staff.”