English degree provides platform for Maryssa’s success

In 1994 Tony Blair became leader of the Labour party, Oasis released the era-defining Definitely Maybe and England failed to reach the World Cup. It was also the year when Maryssa O’Connor completed her BA (Hons) English at Teesside.

Maryssa O’ConnorThough Blair, Oasis and the England football team have had rather mixed fortunes since the heady days of 1994, Maryssa O’Connor, 38, has been forging a hugely successful career in education.

She has now been appointed Principal Designate of the new Thornaby Academy where Teesside is the lead sponsor.

Working with the University of the Year

‘My new role is a really exciting opportunity and I’m particularly looking forward to working with my old University as the lead sponsor, that’s one of the many things that attracted me to the post.

‘Working with such a quality establishment, the University of the Year, will be a key part of making the academy a success.

‘I’m also looking forward to the future, to developing opportunities for staff, and to working with the new students and their parents. I want to make sure that the students have a skills foundation which gives them employability skills and enables them to progress to further and higher education.’

The road to success

Maryssa was a pupil at Kings Manor School and Acklam Sixth Form. After her English degree at Teesside, she achieved a postgraduate teaching certificate in Newcastle, specialising in English.

She started her career as a secondary English teacher in North Tyneside and Newcastle and then moved to a school in Croydon, as Head of English and Assistant Head. She returned to the North-East to her current role as Deputy Head of Tanfield School, Specialist College of Science and Engineering.

Maryssa added: ‘I always wanted to teach from when I was at Kings Manor. It’s an inspiring career and you can positively impact on young peoples’ lives, making sure they get the best opportunities.’