Longtime A-C Valley teacher named St. Stephen principal

From staff reports

A new principal has been appointed at St. Stephen Elementary School in Oil City.

Michael D. O’Brien, who has worked at Allegheny-Clarion Valley High School in Foxburg for the last 18 years, will replace Marge Hajduk, who retired at the end of the last school year after 20 years as principal.

The Most. Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of the Erie Diocese, approved O’Brien’s hire upon the recommendation of the diocese’s Catholic Schools Office and the Rev. John Miller, pastor at St. Stephen Parish.

O’Brien, whose appointment is effective immediately, has 24 years of experience as a physics teacher, including the last 18 at A-C Valley. He has also been the dean of students at A-C Valley for the last four years, and he has handled student discipline for grades 7 to 12 at the school.

He earned his principal certification in 2013.

O’Brien is a graduate of St. Stephen and a 1983 graduate of Venango Catholic High School.

“I am looking forward to getting started and getting to know the faculty, parents and students better,” O’Brien said. “People have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and to offer their support and encouragement.”

O’Brien also said “the climate and culture at St. Stephen are really remarkable.”

He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Edinboro University in 1989, and he earned a master’s of education in school administration from California University of Pennsylvania in 2013.

O’Brien enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserves in 1985 and retired in 2008 as a commander with 22 years of service.

He is the son of longtime Henrys Bend residents Frank O’Brien and the late Nancy O’Brien. Nancy taught at St. Stephen from 1978 until she retired from teaching in 1993.

O’Brien and his wife, Carrie, are the parents of two sons and a daughter, Colin, 27, Kevin, 19, and Kelly, 13.