Birthplace and date: Washington, D.C.; Aug. 20, 1950.
Marital Status: Married to lawyer James R. "Rick" O'Neill. We are both graduates of Walter Johnson High School. We met graduation day June 18, 1968. We have been married since 1972.
Children: Melissa, age 14; Jennifer, age 24.
Schools children attend: Melissa is entering 10th grade at Walt Whitman High School. Jennifer attended Burning Tree Elementary and Thomas Pyle Middle School; graduated from Walt Whitman in 1999 and Vanderbilt University in 2003; and now attends Vanderbilt University Law School.
College: BA, Southern Methodist University.
Celebrity I most resemble: People often ask isn't there an actress named Patricia O'Neill? They must be remembering the actress Patricia Neal.
My most notable characteristic or character trait: I have a great memory. People are often shocked at my ability to remember conversations and obscure details. Some say I am like an elephant in this respect.
I'd love to trade places for a day with: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Nobody knows I: was a cosmetic buyer for Woodward & Lothrop department stores. I spent 10 years as a retail executive.
Favorite Quote: When Madeleine Albright was Secretary of State, her friends asked if she was gaining weight? She replied, "No, I'm just growing thicker skin." I believe this quote applies to most elected officials.
Best movie I've ever seen: "Titanic."
Best Book I've ever read: "Angela's Ashes: A Memoir" by Frank McCourt.
Favorite subject in high school: History. I believe if you understand the past, it helps you prepare for the future. As a senior at Walter Johnson High School, I took European History taught by an outstanding teacher, Jim Walsh. My senior paper was on [doomed 12th-century lovers Peter] Abelard and Heloise. I love the details involved with the study of history. Understanding who, what, why, and where. I still love history, and I enjoy reading biographies.
My study habits as a student: My study habits weren't very good. I was a last-minute student. I would write the paper the night before it was due. Read the book the day before the test. I always did best in subjects I liked.
All-time favorite TV show: "Seinfeld."
Restaurant in my district where parents would most likely run into me: California Pizza Kitchen at Westfield Montgomery.
Car I drive: Ford Taurus station wagon. I am a soccer and field hockey mom.
Best car I've ever had: 1975 Chevy Camaro.
Person in history I would like to meet: Susan B. Anthony, U.S. leader in the movement for women's suffrage.
Most important influence in my life: My mother. My mom graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles at a time when not many women went to college. She worked as a social worker. She was elected president of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Branch of American Association of University Women in 1954, the youngest branch president at that time. She used to take me along to meetings.
Favorite place to vacation: Hawaii. I have been there twice, to celebrate my 15th and 25th wedding anniversaries.
Most interesting place you have visited: Beijing, China.
Pet Peeve: People who like to complain but have no solutions to their complaints.
Impression people have of me that I would most like to change:
I believe that most people believe that I am just a PTA/soccer mom serving on the school board. I believe my business experience, my education and my six years as a nursery school teacher prepared me for this role.
Impression of MCPS that I would most like to change:
I think many people believe that too much money goes to our schools. Believe me, in public education there is never enough money to meet all our needs. I also believe that many in the state of Maryland believe there are no challenges in Montgomery County. When I speak at statewide meetings people are shocked to discover the impact of poverty and limited English skills in Montgomery County.