2022 Educational Service Provider of the Year- Michelle O’Neill

Ms. Michelle ONeill (Far Right) next to Becton Wildcat, Principal Dr. Sforza, and Becton Student Michael Sorentino congratulating ONeill on her accomplishment.

Ms. Michelle O’Neill (Far Right) next to Becton Wildcat, Principal Dr. Sforza, and Becton Student Michael Sorentino congratulating O’Neill on her accomplishment.

On Friday Dec. 23 Ms. Michelle O’Neill was named 2022-2023 Educational Service Provider of the Year at Becton’s annual Winter Sports Pep-Rally.  

O’Neill is a member of the Child Study Team department which looks to evaluate and design appropriate programs for students who are experiencing learning, health and/or behavioral difficulties. O’Neill herself is a school social worker and case manager, which is someone who specializes in the area of social work concerned with the psychosocial functioning of students to promote and maintain their health and well-being. Prior to her time at Becton, O’Neill worked for many years at an outpatient mental health agency providing counseling to individuals of all ages and their families.  She insightfully looks back on her past employment saying, “It was amazing to see that treatment really works and that no matter what a person has been through, there is always the capacity to get better.” 

When asked how it felt to be named ESP of the Year, she exclaimed, “It feels absolutely amazing!” Although she was the only one awarded the title, O’Neill was quick to give a heartfelt mention that her win felt like a group effort. She explained that she works together with a team every day. O’Neill noted, “For every action I take, there is always another person right beside me giving their all as well.”  

CST Department raises awareness for Menal Heath!

What piqued her interest in social work was her love for connecting with others. She described herself as “Naturally very social, curious, deep and caring,” and attributes these characteristics to her interest for her career path. She also explains that she felt very strongly about equality and civil rights, which is another reason as to why she chose the field of work she did. O’Neill states, “Social work is based on connection and equality, so it was a perfect fit for me.”

O’Neill’s role is to assist students who have special education needs to achieve academic and social success at Becton. She explains how she helps create a positive learning environment through “a heart-centered approach mixed with evidence-based practices.” This helps to make students feel personally connected and builds trust so that they can truly thrive at Becton. She also helps students interact with staff, so they can be fully immersed in school life and enjoy the benefits of attending such a great school. 

When asked how her job impacted her life, she explained her job is never boring and takes joy in being able to witness students grow through high school and critical times of their lives when students are about to embark into adulthood. She notes, “It truly feels great to be a part of supporting the new generation.”  Once again, O’Neill gives much praise to her fellow staff members, saying her favorite part of her job is the people. She recalls her interview with Superintendent and Principal, Dr. Dario Sforza, where he explained that Becton was like a family. O’Neill believes that statement to be true and has been supported, encouraged and welcomed every day while at Becton Regional. O’Neill stated. “I cry at every graduation as I see our amazing seniors achieve their dreams and I delight in welcoming every new student who enters our doors. We truly have a beautiful school culture at Becton and I love being part of it.” 

O’Neill (Right) and biology teacher, Ms. Calasso,(left) next to Mental Health awareness and Anti-bullying activity board as a Cross-Curricular Collaboration!

One of O’Neill’s goals for the 2023 school year is to get to know more students. She says she spends a lot of time focusing on students in the special education department and often gets to branch out by getting to know their friends and siblings, but there are always more amazing students at Becton who she would love to know. O’Neill commends the students for their talent and individuality at Becton, and says, “I always wish I could get to see all of our students’ shine.”

To conclude, O’Neill would describe her time at Becton, as being part of a family. She evaluates the common purpose at Becton as helping students and the community. Finally, she explains “I honestly feel that we all strive to make this world a better place at Becton and we get the support to do it in our own individual ways. When you are on a team like that– when you feel that sense of deeper trust– you can truly feel like you are part of a family. I am very grateful.” 

Congratulations Ms. O’Neill!