Jack T. O'Connell (born October 8, 1951) is a California politician. He is currently serving as the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, having elected to the post in November 2002 with 61% of the vote. O'Connell previously served on the Santa Barbara County School Board. He later went to serve in the California State Assembly as a Democrat representing the Central Coast-based 35th District from 1982 to 1994. He then won election from the 18th District to the California State Senate where he served from 1994 to 2002. He was re-elected to his post in the Primary election on June 6, 2006.
O’Connell was born in 1951 in Glen Cove, New York. In 1958, his family moved to Southern California, where he attended local public schools. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from California State University, Fullerton and earned his secondary teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach in 1975. He returned to his high school alma mater to teach for several years and later served on the Santa Barbara County School Board.
In his 2006 re-election campaign, he won every county in California with at least an electoral plurality. Although the State Superintendent of Public Instruction is officially a non-partisan position, O'Connell is a member of the Democratic Party, and political parties will routinely make endorsements of candidates in the election (which was the case with O'Connell).