Michael O'Neal
Michael O'Neal
Executive Director of Community United Services Inc/ Founder Parent University
Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA., Michael has been a Savannah resident for 47 years. He is married for 45 years to wife Jo-Nell and they are the parents of three sons and a daughter, three daughters-in-law, and 10 grandchildren. Michael is the founder of Parent University in Savannah and now serves as the Executive Director of Community United Services Inc., which is the entity that manages the Parent University program. O’Neal has been the chief steward of this grass roots community-based program since its inception here in Savannah in 1999. Currently Michael is facilitating Parent University and its new component “Early Learning College” program for the parents of children birth to five years old.
He was employed with International Paper from 1976 until May of 2018 and worked most of that time in the Electrical and Instrument maintenance and Safety department.
During that time Michael did several other things in his spare time including giving talks about Parent University and community building many places in the United States and several countries.
Mr. O’Neal also presently hosts the TV show “Parent University TV”. He previously co-wrote the “Dear Diane and Mike” column and currently is a contributing columnist for the Savannah Morning News. Michael volunteered as a Junior Achievement Consultant. He has managed a pilot project for the City of Savannah called the Strong Families Program to give parental training to the parents of youth who were considered at risk by the schools or courts. He has co-facilitated Parental Engagement seminars at locations in Georgia and South Carolina in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Education which was featured on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
In 2015, O’Neal went on a year-long paid leave from International Paper which allowed him to work with Parent University and Early Learning College full time and develop the model to enduring sustainability. He then returned to IP in 2016 until his retirement in May 2018. Michael served on the Advisory Board of the Savannah Early Childhood Foundation and he has served on many Boards of Directors or councils in the Savannah area. Michael was listed as one of the 2015 Fortune Magazine “Heroes of the 500” and has received numerous awards for himself and Parent University. A Paul Harris Fellow, Michael is currently President Elect of the Rotary Club West in Savannah Ga.