York County elementary school principal, 'always all in,' dies at age 48

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

Northeastern York School District is mourning the loss of one of its elementary school principals.

Melinda O'Brien, who'd served as principal at Conewago Elementary School since 2019, died Dec. 22, the district confirmed Thursday. She'd been diagnosed with colon and liver cancer earlier in the year.

“(O'Brien) was a beloved member of our Bobcat Family,” Northeastern School District Stacey Sidle said. “She had a deep passion for children and education and was always all in — giving 100% to everything she did.”

Former Conewago Elementary School Principal Melinda O’Brien, died Dec. 22.

The school district recently showed support through a “dress down” staff fundraiser for the family on Dec. 12. Participants took photos of themselves in their light blue shirts or “O’Brien Hope shirts," which were sent to the family.   

“Her love for her Bobcat family is strong and we would like to return that love to her family,” a district Facebook post read. 

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O’Brien, 48, previously worked as an assistant principal in the Spring Grove Area School District.

She earned a bachelor' degree in elementary education in 1996 from Penn State University and a master's in teaching and curriculum in 2004 from Penn State. In 2009, O’Brien earned a master's of education in teaching and learning from Millersville University.

The Northeastern School District Administrative Center in Manchester, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In 2020, she earned a doctorate from Millersville and Shippensburg universities.

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The Michigan native is survived by her husband, Joel P. O’Brien, and four children. 

Memorial contributions can go to The Pappus House at www.pappushouse.org or The Daisy Fund, www.thedaisyfundpa.org , a nonprofit that helps support families of a person who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. 

— Reach Meredith Willse at mwillse@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated the state Melinda O'Brien was from. It has been corrected.