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Courtenay O'Neil named UW-Eau Claire Children's Nature Academy director

June 25, 2013
Courtenay O'Neil
Courtenay O'Neil

EAU CLAIRE — Courtenay O'Neil has been named the director of the Children's Nature Academy at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

For the past four years, O'Neil has served as the director of the Davidson-Cornelius Child Development Center, a nonprofit center located in Davidson, N.C., that provides affordable child care to all families. O'Neil began her post as the director of the Children's Nature Academy on June 17.

The Children's Nature Academy provides children of students, faculty and staff with a high-quality program that is both affordable and convenient. The nature-based early childhood program promotes physical, social, emotional and intellectual development in a safe and nurturing environment.

"I have always kept my eye open for opportunities in the Eau Claire area so that I could continue to work with young children while being closer to family," O'Neil said. "The nature program is such a wonderful concept and perfect for early childhood development. This was an opportunity to be at the beginning stages of implementation, a new location and expanding center."

Jacqueline Bonneville, chair of the position's search committee and assistant dean of students, said the committee was impressed with O'Neil's qualifications.

"We were excited about her educational background, knowledge of the field and standards, experience in early childhood education, passion for children and ability to lead during transition," Bonneville said. "We feel she is a perfect match for the needs and desires of the Children's Nature Academy."

O'Neil said her future plan for the center is to continue to create a nature-based program for young children to grow and develop, as well as to work closely with the university and community to create a high-quality nature-based early learning and development center.

O'Neil holds a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a master of arts in instruction with program concentration in ESL and parent involvement from St. Mary's University in Winona, Minn.

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