Former Regional Superintendent Martha O’Malley dies

A woman who worked to make sure metro-east schools met state standards has died.

Martha O’Malley died Friday at her home in Belleville. She was 93.

She raised eight children and set out to teach and mentor students throughout the metro-east. She began her career in 1964, when she began teaching fourth grade at St. Joseph’s School in East St. Louis. She later taught kindergarten at Signal Hill School in Belleville and then was a faculty member and coordinator at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

In 1971, she was selected assistant superintendent of the Signal Hill School District 181. Four years later, she was the first woman elected to countywide office as the regional superintendent of schools in St. Clair County, a position she held from 1975 through 1995.

During her tenure as regional superintendent, she strengthened the oversight to make sure metro-east school complied with state standards. Initially, she managed a team of four employees who worked together to monitor local schools. By the time she retired, in July 1995, more than 120 full-time employees had been assigned to help oversee metro-east schools.

Belleville District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier said his father, John “Bob” Dosier, who served as District 201 superintendent from 1985 to 1993, held O’Malley in high esteem. He said O’Malley was well respected among local educators.

“I did not know her very well, but I know how much my dad respected her,” Dosier said. “Both of my parents held Mrs. O’Malley in very high regard. I knew that my dad had a lot of respect for Mrs. O’Malley.”

O’Malley was born Martha Richardson in Warren, Ark., in 1921. She earned her teaching degree from Arkansas State College in 1939. She also received her masters degree in elementary education from Southern Illinois University in 1968. She earned a specialists degree in elementary education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1970 and a specialist degree in educational administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1972.

O’Malley held numerous certifications and served on a number of local boards and councils, including her service as a trustee of the University of Illinois.

Funeral arrangements have been made at Kurris Funeral home in Belleville. Visitation will be held 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Blessed Sacrament Church in Belleville with a private family burial at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Belleville.

Contact reporter Will Buss at or 618-239-2526.