Welcome to Gila County Education
Linda L. O’Dell, Ed.D. was elected as Gila County Superintendent of Schools in November, 2004 and took office in January, 2005. An educational leader with more than 35 years of experience, Superintendent O’Dell is well established as a proponent of professional development for teachers, accountability for student learning and continuous school improvement efforts. Superintendent O’Dell is a skilled facilitator and problem solver with a proven track record for program development as well as the capacity secure needed resources. She is passionate in her belief that all students can learn and that they deserve access to appropriate opportunities and supports to succeed in attaining educational goals.
Dr. O’Dell has the unique distinction of holding a degree from each of Arizona’s three universities. A Minnesota transplant, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. While living and teaching in Nogales, Dr. O’Dell commuted to Tucson and the University of Arizona, where she received her Master of Education degree in Reading. Superintendent O’Dell sought professional advancement through additional studies at Northern Arizona University, where she earned a Doctorate in Education Administration.
Dr. O’Dell began her teaching career as a first grade teacher with the Mesa Public Schools. She taught third grade for the Santa Cruz Elementary School District and served as a Reading Specialist for the Nogales Public Schools. A one-year sojourn to the Dallas area offered an opportunity for Dr. O’Dell to develop and implement a Title I Reading Program at an elementary school in the Plano Unified School District. Upon her return to Arizona, she accepted employment with the Gilbert Public Schools. During her tenure in Gilbert, Dr. O’Dell served as a teacher of first and fifth grades as well as an administrator at both school and district levels.
After completion of her doctoral studies, Dr. O’Dell was named the first State Director of the Arizona Career Ladder with the Arizona Department of Education in 1991. She was tapped to implement the newly enacted Charter Schools legislation for the Arizona State Board of Education in July 1994, and was named the first Arizona Charter Schools Director shortly thereafter. In 1996, Dr. O’Dell accepted a position as the Small Schools Administrator for Maricopa County Schools, a position she held until her (first) retirement in July, 2000 when she and husband Ken moved full time to Pine, Arizona.
A brief hiatus found Dr. O’Dell assisting her husband in the final construction phases of the family home in Pine. With her customary enthusiasm for new ventures, Dr. O’Dell took up and passionately pursued the art of quilting, which led to working in, teaching for and publishing the newsletter for the local quilt shop. Dr. O’Dell was called out of retirement to teach developmental reading and study skills for Gila Community College in Payson, a move that led to a rekindled interest in returning to the world of education.
The position of Gila County Superintendent of Schools is a natural fit for Dr. O’Dell’s educational background and experiences. Dr. O’Dell is committed not only to fulfilling the legal responsibilities of her office, but also to support efforts ensuring educational achievement of all students and accountability for their success as well as providing needed support and resources for teachers and schools.