Mohonasen Board appoints Thomas O’Connor as new Draper Principal

Thomas O’Connor was appointed Monday night by the Mohonasen Board of Education as the new building principal at Draper Middle School. O’Connor brings an extensive background in education and administrative experience as he steps in to lead the building for the 2023-24 school year. 

Thomas O'Connor headshot
O’Connor headshot

O’Connor started his educational career teaching grade 12 English in Maui, Hawaii. “It was a great experience, but I missed being close to home,” he said. O’Connor grew up in Ravena, New York. 

When O’Connor returned to the Capital Region, he took every opportunity he was presented with. “I continued teaching high school English, taught summer and night school, and became certified in and taught special education for one year, learning as much as I could along the way,” he said.

After teaching for 10 years, O’Connor moved into the role of assistant principal at Pinewood. O’Connor said he appreciated that Pinewood staff members were so welcoming and helpful as he made the transition to an administrative role. 

“An elementary school is very different from a high school, but everyone in the building was supportive and we worked as a team.” After three years at Pinewood, he moved to the high school, where he worked as an assistant principal for four years. 

O’Connor’s goal as an administrator is simple: “I want to make school a place where students want to be.” 

Throughout his teaching career, O’Connor tried to create an educational culture in his classroom that students were drawn to. “I pursued my administrative degree because I wanted to learn how to lead a building in the same way,” he said.

The impact of his hard work and uplifting demeanor is felt throughout the district. 

“Mr. O’Connor’s service to Mohonasen, first at Pinewood and then at the high school, has been exceptional,” said Superintendent Shannon Shine. “He is best known for his professionalism and his collaborative leadership, in addition to his unflappable positive attitude. I have no doubt he will bring these leadership qualities to Draper.”

When asked about his favorite part of Mohonasen, O’Connor said, “The sense of community is very strong. Whether it’s meeting families at an open house, enjoying an amazing musical performance, or supporting our athletes at a sporting event, our community is always Mohon Proud! I feel lucky to be part of it.”

Five questions with Thomas O’Connor

What activities do you enjoy in your free time?

I enjoy riding my bicycle, barbecuing and spending time with family and friends.

Any pets?

I have a dog named Bear, his real name is Teddy Bear, he’s a poodle mix who only weighs 18 pounds and I have three goldfish.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m reading Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, “Born to Run.”

What makes you laugh?

A lot of things, I like to laugh. I always enjoy a good joke, and listening to students’ stories can be very entertaining, but my favorite form of humor is listening to a good storyteller whose timing and delivery can turn an ordinary event into a comical work of genius.  There’s definitely an art to it!

, ,