Woman of the Century/Nellie O'Donnell
O'DONNELL, Miss Nellie, educator, born in Chillicothe, Ohio, 2nd June, 1867. Both her parents were natives of Massachusetts. Her father was born in Aubumdale and her mother in Brookline. She removed with them to Memphis, Tenn., while yet a child. She was educated in St. Agnes Academy, where she was graduated 17th June, 1885. In the following year she was an applicant for a position as a teacher in the public schools, stood the necessary examination and was appointed. NELLIE O’DONNELL. In 1887 she was advanced to the grade of principal and took charge of a school in the thirteenth district, and has been connected with the county schools ever since. After two years in that capacity she was elected superintendent of public schools in Shelby county, Tenn. She was reelected in 1891. She has been remarkably successful. She has extended the average school-term from seven to nine months; has established sixteen high schools, eleven for white children and five for black; holds normal training-schools for teachers during each summer vacation, one for the white and one for the colored teachers, and holds monthly institutes during the months when the schools are in session. She is devoted to her profession. She believes in technical training and continued study. She demands from the teachers under her the same fidelity to duty that she exhibits. When she first assumed the duties of superintendent, she found but one-hundred-forty-eight schools open in the county; now there are two-hundred-seventeen. She introduced the higher mathematics and book-keeping, rhetoric, higher English, civil government, natural philosophy, physiology and the history of Tennessee as studies in the nigh schools. She added vocal music as a study in all the schools. She is a strict disciplinarian and a fine example of conscientiousness to duty.