Mary Grassa O’Neill

  • Founding co-lead faculty for the HGSE/HBS Certificate in School Management and Leadership powered by HBS Online. 
  • HGSE Director of the Principals’ Center and Managing Director of Programs in Professional Education
  • First layperson Secretary of Education and Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston (led second-largest school district in Massachusetts – 120 schools and 42,000 students) 
  • Superintendent of Milton, MA Public Schools for 10 years
  • Earned national recognition as the entrepreneurial turnaround principal of the James P. Timilty Middle School (Roxbury, MA)
  • Founding member of Massachusetts School Building Authority Board


Monique Burns Thompson:

  • Co-founder and President of Teach Plus, a national nonprofit that trains excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues (30,000+ teacher leaders trained) – https://teachplus.org/
  • Co-founder, President, Chief Curriculum Officer of New Leaders for New Schools, the largest recruiter and trainer of school leaders in the United States. – https://www.newleaders.org/
  • Consultant with The McKenzie Group (Washington, D.C.)
  • Special Assistant to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Public School District
  • Leadership coach and consultant for 14 Massachusetts charter schools
  • Marketing and brand management for Quaker Oats Co.
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Show Highlights

  • Destroy what we expect from kids and what they should be learning
  • A “North Star” will navigate you out of any feelings of failure
  • Unlock the secret to success for their students with this
  • Beautiful arranged marriages are needed in every professional toolkit 
  • Importance of inspection to determine the impact of your programs
  • CSML program merges content and context
  • Participate in problems of practice to bridge the gap from ideas to real  execution
  • Schools struggle to meet the potential embedded in their organization
  • Half of all principals have no access to professional development
Mary Grassa O'Neill and Monique Burns Thompson: Colliding two worlds: Bringing Together the Best of Business and Education

“Our experience is very different and our wisdom and our super powers are very different. And because of that, we are continually molding and pushing and adding perspective, um, to this work. And that diversity also expands into the team that we’ve put together of incredible people, lots of skills and all the other faculty that we bring into the dialogue.”

Monique Burns Thompson

Leadership is joyful work, empowering others to do their best work. Principals do that with teachers and teachers do that with students and empowering others to educate themselves or to be educated is just one of the most important things we can do in this world. We’re building people, we’re building the next generation of leaders and educators.”

Mary Grassa O’Neill



Transform how you lead to become a resilient and empowered change agent with Harvard’s online Certificate in School Management and Leadership. Grow your professional network with a global cohort of fellow school leaders as you collaborate in case studies bridging the fields of education and business. Apply today at http://hgse.me/leader.



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