Head of School
David is a native of Southern California. He and his wife Dayna have a passion for this community and seeing its young people grow to lead joyful lives of service that make a difference.
David studied Economics and Business at Westmont Collegewhere he also competed in collegiate baseball. Having not been raised in the Church, David’s life was transformed through his pursuit of academics and faith in college. This experience gave him a passion for the Church, for the life of the mind, and for Christian schooling.
After working in business for a few years, David returned to school to earn a Master’s degree in Global Commerce and Management from Whitworth University. During his studies at Whitworth, David served as a volunteer consultant for Pacifica-Santa Monica in the areas of marketing and community development prior to the school opening. As the school opened it’s doors in 2005, David and Dayna took founding positions at Pacifica-Santa Monica. He served as Director of Admissions & Development for several years before adding College Counseling to his role. In his final year with the school, David served as the Assistant Head of School. Dayna, who has B.A. in biology and chemistry as well as a Master’s degree in Education, served as the founding science chair. The two of them oversaw student life and the international student travel program taking students to countries such as Costa Rica, England, France, Italy, and Malawi.
During their time in Santa Monica, David and Dayna poured their lives into the Church running both the high school group and the young-adults program.
In 2011, David became the Head of School at Providence Hall in Santa Barbara, taking the reigns from his predecessor Dr. David Winter, President Emeritus of Westmont College. Providence Hall, like Pacifica, was a newer school with a track record of excellence and a commitment to providing students with a rigorous liberal arts education taught by excellent Christian teachers. Leaving Pacifica Santa Monica was difficult for David and his family, but they were resolved to partner with communities in building Christian schools of excellence.
Within the first 6 weeks of David’s arrival to Providence Hall he executed the relocation of the school’s campus and launched a new middle school program. Working with local foundations and major educational companies he implemented Santa Barbara’s first 1:1 iPad program and furnished every classroom with modern technology and furniture. Under David’s leadership Providence was awarded the Outstanding Campus Award by the California Educators’ Hall of Fame, received the Santa Barbara News-Press 2014 Readers’ Choice Award for best private high school, and the school’s accreditation through WASC was renewed at the highest level.
During his second year at Providence Hall (7-12), David served on numerous exploratory committees regarding a merger with Santa Barbara Christian School (K-8). He brought the concept to board, faculty, parent and student groups. Once the merger was finalized he helped navigate the logistics of bringing the two schools into one.
In 2014 David was invited to take on the role of Pacifica Orange County’s founding Head of School. David’s vision for the school is clear: that Pacifica be the strongest school of its size and kind. He has a passion for teenagers and seeks to lead an institution that develops young men and women who seek joy in learning, are growing in their faith, desire to think and live well, and have a strong heart for others, their community, and world.
David and Dayna have two children, Hadley and Chloe. The O’Neil’s enjoy the beach, baseball, reading, camping, concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and spending their vacation each summer camping around the country.
B.A. Economics & Business – Westmont College
M.A. Global Commerce & Management – Whitworth University
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