- Chester County Intermediate Unit
CCIU Executive Director Announces Retirement after 46 Years in Education
Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) Executive Director Joseph J. O’Brien, Ed.D. announced that he will be retiring on July 31, 2019 after over 12 years of service to the intermediate unit and 46 years in public education.
“This has been the best job in education – it will be hard to leave,” O’Brien said. “Education is highly valued in southeastern Pennsylvania; and, I believe over the years that we have built the best staff and best IU in the Commonwealth in order to meet the high expectations and demands of our customers.”
O’Brien is credited with transforming the CCIU into a dynamic, entrepreneurial organization. His innovative thinking paved the way for regional education programs that seek to meet the needs of every child while reducing the financial impact of these services on local school districts. An indication of the CCIU’s financial success: the IU budget increased nearly $120 million during his tenure.
Under O’Brien’s leadership at the CCIU, three new dual-enrollment career and technical high schools were opened: the Chester County Technical College High School (TCHS) Pennock’s Bridge Campus in 2008 and the TCHS Brandywine Campus in August 2012; and the renovated TCHS Pickering Campus in 2017. The dual-enrollment career and technical high schools are models for the Commonwealth.
In addition, under his direction, the CCIU implemented the “administrator on assignment” program that temporarily places administrators in dozens of school districts throughout southeastern PA. He also implemented the CCIU executive search services and has assisted over 30 school districts with finding and hiring their superintendents, including the current superintendents in Avon Grove, Downingtown, Great Valley, Octorara, Owen J. Roberts, Oxford, Phoenixville, Tredyffrin/Easttown and Unionville.
“Through his leadership of the CCIU, Dr. O'Brien has been an invaluable asset to the Oxford Area School District and to Chester County. He was always willing to extend his considerable educational knowledge to Oxford and its students,” said David Woods, superintendent of Oxford Area School District. “Joe is an educational leader who subscribes to the Oxford vision of kids first, progress and unity.” Over 400 CCIU services are available to the county’s school districts.
“The most difficult thing to change in an organization is the culture or prevailing attitude of the staff. We’ve done that at CCIU with an unrelenting focus on providing quality customer service by doing everything we can to help school districts, students and families,” O’Brien said. “Many organizations pay lip service to the concept of customer service; at CCIU we live and breathe it every single day. Quality of service and customer care is our number one motivating drive and over my 12 years here, we have assembled a fabulous team that focuses on providing this quality of care.”
O’Brien has had an upstanding career in public education, and he knows it will be difficult to say goodbye.
“Education is a people business and I will miss all of the people – the students, staff, my colleagues in school districts and our partners throughout Chester County.”
O’Brien informed the CCIU Board of Directors earlier in the school year of his intentions, and the Board has been interviewing candidates to replace him since April.
After 46 years of public service, O’Brien is retiring with his wife Michele to their home in Delaware County, where he is looking forward to his first summer off in over four decades as well as to his future.
Prior to his appointment as CCIU's executive director, O’Brien served as a superintendent of the Springfield School District in Delaware County, PA and the Haddonfield School District in New Jersey. His experience also includes 12 years as a high school principal and assistant principal, and 14 years as a classroom teacher in the Springfield School District.
O’Brien is affiliated with a number of professional and local organizations, including president of the CCRES Board of Directors, president of the Chester & Delaware Counties Suburban Superintendent Study Council, co-chair of the Citadel Federal Credit Union Heart of Learning Committee, and a trustee for the Brandywine Hospital. His community board memberships include: United Way of Chester County; Chester County Economic Development Council; 21st Century Cyber Charter School; Franklin Mint Advisory Board; West Chester University Advisory Committee; Brandywine Health Foundation; and Foundations Board of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. Additionally, O’Brien is an adjunct faculty member of Immaculata University and Gwynedd Mercy University.