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About our Superintendent

Ms. McDonnell 

Ms. Barbara McDonnell

Acting Superintendent

Duquesne City School District


Ms. Barbara McDonnell is a veteran educator with 25 years of experience in the mental health and public education fields.  Born and raised in the City of Duquesne, Ms. McDonnell has a unique understanding of the community and its needs.  She has developed strong bonds with many families and is deeply committed to serving Duquesne and its children.

Ms. McDonnell began her career as a research assistant and specialist at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.  Transferring her knowledge of crisis stabilization, family counseling and treatment recommendation for youth, Ms. McDonnell served as a site coordinator for the Pittsburgh Public School District and later program supervisor at The Pressley Ridge Schools.   

She joined the Duquesne City School District in 2000 as the dean of discipline, and has held a variety of positions including elementary principal and community educational liaison.  During her 13 years in the district, Ms. McDonnell has facilitated student academic growth, led professional development sessions and supervised staff.  Over the years, she has developed and nurtured partnerships with local business, municipal, religious and non-profit leaders.  She has coordinated the successful transfer of students in grades 7-12 to the East Allegheny and West Mifflin Area School Districts, and ensured that their efforts to achieve were successful.

Ms. McDonnell holds a bachelor’s degree in Child Psychology, a master’s degree in Counselor Education and a Principal K-12 certificate from the University of Pittsburgh.  She currently is completing doctoral coursework at California University of Pennsylvania.  Additionally, she has completed a variety of professional development programs including the Pennsylvania Principal’s Inspired Leadership Program, NISL, Olweus Bullying, Attachment in African American Families, Universal Precautions and several others. 

Ms. McDonnell and her family are currently residents of the school district and are active in many community efforts.  She is committed to serving the children of Duquesne and has dedicated her career to helping local families achieve their goals.


No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness, and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.
-- Emma Golmam