2004 Distinguished Alumnus
Jack Thomas O'Connell
1975, Teaching Credential-Secondary Education, CSULB
1973, B.A., History, Cal State Fullerton
After more than 20 years as a California legislator, Jack O'Connell returned to his education roots by being elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2002. After earning his teaching credential at CSULB, he taught at his high school alma mater and was elected to the Santa Barbara County School Board.
In 1982, O'Connell was elected to the 35th State Assembly District and then to the 18th State Senate District in 1994. Authoring the legislation to reduce class size as well as Proposition 39, which reduced the amount of votes needed to pass local school bonds from 67 percent to 55 per cent, are among his proudest accomplishments.
Calling himself a "tireless advocate to public schools," O'Connell has received numerous legislator of the year and other accolades from local and state education groups.
Cal State Long Beach "provides quality educational opportunities for students and enables students to receive skills to become successful in life," he said.
From Alumni Awards 2004 program