Wake County Public School System
Hall of Fame
For more than 20 years, Jerry O’Connor has worked to ensure that Wake County students are college and career ready by helping them making real-world connections in the classroom.
Jerry spent more than 44 years in management at American Airlines, working in cities from New York to Honolulu to Los Angeles, before settling in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In the mid-90s he became involved in a new effort to connect Wake County businesses with middle and high schools. Jerry served as a member, regional coordinator, and eventually the county chair of a local School Business Alliance, focused on creating and sustaining relationships between schools and businesses and helping students make connections between education and careers.
As Academies began to develop, he served on the initial Board of Directors for the Apex High School Academy of Information Technology (AOIT). The AOIT engages students in rigorous, project-based learning curriculum and internships focused on providing transferable skills and exposing students to career opportunities in the ever-growing information technology industry.
Jerry O’Connor was a member of the Wake County School-to-Career Leadership Team and Co-Chaired the group with Bill Seyler for 10 years. Together, they built a network of support for local schools. The purpose of his work was to help students explore potential careers and to engage the business community in supporting teacher needs. He continued to work towards these goals after he became the General Manager for American Airlines at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Prior to his retirement from American Airlines in late 2015, Jerry served as Company Chairman of a committee which managed a fund to assist employees in need. He was also awarded the American Airlines Chairman’s Award for exceptional service to the company.
Jerry currently serves on the Apex High School Business Alliance, which provides career-related events that help prepare students for success after graduation. School-to-Career projects include internships, college visits, Entrepreneurship Week, and the annual Xtreme Beginnings career fair.