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Martha O'Neil, 2005 August 12

Identifier: OH-ON0361

Scope and Contents

Martha O'Neill shares her experiences as a drama teacher at Piedmont Open Middle School in Charlotte. She describes the characteristics of open education as it was understood and practiced within the school, including a focus on the whole child, an integrated student-centered curriculum, an emphasis on group work and cooperation, an appreciation for the role of arts education, acceptance of diversity within the student body, and respect for students as individuals. During the interview Ms. O’Neill recalls many anecdotes from her time teaching at Piedmont, and praises principal Stephanie Counts for her leadership. Under Counts's direction, Piedmont became a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. While Ms. O'Neill is a strong advocate for open education, she believes that it would be impossible to implement the open philosophy in the current educational climate. Ms. O’Neill concludes with a discussion of what she sees as the biggest challenges in education at the time of interview, highlighting high stakes testing, low levels of teacher compensation, and the lack of prestige associated with teaching.


  • Creation: 2005 August 12

Conditions Governing Access

Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Please contact Special Collections to request the creation of use copies for particular items; requests will be accommodated when possible. The remaining materials are open for research.

Biographical Note

Martha O'Neill was a 48-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place in her home in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was born in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1956. She was educated at East Carolina University and was employed as a drama teacher.


73 Minutes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Oral Histories, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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