With+big+shoes+to+fill%2C+Sean+O%27Neill+joins+Titan+Territory+in+the+middle+of+a+pandemic.

courtesy of ?Sean O'Neill

With big shoes to fill, Sean O’Neill joins Titan Territory in the middle of a pandemic.

There’s a new teacher in Titan territory and his name is Sean O’Neil. O’Neil, a UVA graduate, is the new math teacher who has replaced Mrs. Kaplan after she announced her retirement back in November. 

Math chair Cindy Sokol said, “I am very excited to welcome Mr. O’Neil to our team.” O’Neil majored in Chemical Engineering for his undergraduate, then got his Master’s in Education from George Mason, and he just finished his student teaching at John Champe last semester

O’Neil said, “It’s been a good start so far, navigating through what I think everyone is going through with distance learning and the pandemic.”

Though O’Neil is excited to be teaching here at Dominion, starting here during this crazy time doesn’t come without its challenges. “It’s always going to be a difficult transition for everyone involved. Change can be difficult. But it’s nothing that can’t be worked through. These two weeks set up as a good transition period before the second semester starts,” O’Neil said. 

When it comes to what challenges Mr. O’Neil might face, Sokol said, “His challenges revolve around the same challenges each teacher faces at the beginning of the year: building relationships, establishing trust, and helping students master content.” She also said that O’Neil will face additional problems since his students had a different teacher for almost the entire first semester and the new possibility of hybrid.

When it comes to how the Titan team will support Mr. O’Neil and help him through these tough times, Sokol said, “ Mr. O’Neil and I will be meeting regularly to discuss any challenges that he faces with regards to math instruction, student issues, etc.  He also meets weekly with his team of algebra 2 and advanced functions teachers so he has their support also.” She also noted that each new teacher in LCPS gets assigned to a “mentor teacher” to help them navigate their way through their new environment.

In his free time O’Neil’s favorite hobby is following sports. He said, “I probably follow sports way too closely. All sports, baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis… you name it. As a math guy, I’m very interested in statistics and analytics in sports.” 

He also says he enjoys playing all sorts of board and card games and that he can get “pretty nerdy” with his hobbies. His favorite math equation is Euler’s identity because “the natural and simple combination of five fundamental mathematical constants (e, pi, i, 1, and 0) into one equation shows how beautiful math can be” and is always up for a game of Catan.