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The Power of Yet: O’Neal shares her superpower of perseverance

Cleveland Elementary Title I Parent Liaison Chrissy O’Neal helps families stay engaged in their children’s learning.

“I do anything they ask as a parent liaison,” O’Neal said. “The most important thing I do is I help keep parents engaged in their children’s education.”

The key to a student’s success is teamwork: The school, student, and family must work as one.

“It’s like a triangle. We all have to hold our piece up to keep it together,” she said. “When the school, the parent, and the child are all holding the rope together, we can’t do anything but succeed.”

Her classroom is filled with games, packets, and tools that kids can take home to keep sharpening their skills.

“We try to make learning fun at home, not doing actual schoolwork, but making parents engaged while their children are learning.”

Her work extends beyond the school walls and into summer months. She runs a summer tutoring program, along with a book mobile program that brings resources to a local mobile home park.

“I want to make sure that every child has the same opportunities that every other child in Fayette County has.”

O’Neal lives her life with an attitude of gratitude forged from one of the most trying times of her life. In early 2020, she had a kidney stone that turned into sepsis. She went into septic shock and nearly died, but she survived and now she never takes a day for granted.

“I almost died that day. Coming out of a crisis and being able to see the world differently now, wow.”

She lost a leg and half of a foot through her journey. She uses it as an opportunity to teach students about differences and how they can be a strength.

“I hope the kids see the perseverance and the power that I’ve shown them,” she said. “I’m the teacher with the robot leg, and I don’t want new kids to be scared or freaked out when they see me so I go in and explain I got really sick but wow there was a doctor that was able to save my life.”

The word yet has a lot of power, and she likes to share that with students and families.

“There is no reason that you can’t keep going. Just because you can’t do something yet doesn’t mean that next week, next month, next year you’re not going to be able to do it,” she said. “It’s the power of yet. Your child has not learned this multiplication facts YET, but they’re going to with all of our hard work. I think that making sure the parents understand that is so important.”


“The Honor Role,” an official podcast for Fayette County Public Schools, features employees, rotating through key stakeholders, including teachers, staff, nurses, custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers. Join us as we dive in and learn about their journeys, their inspirations, and their whys.

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Posted 3/26/2024