Skip to main content
Woman smiling, wearing a black turtleneck with white hair and glasses perched on her head.

Dr. Peggy O'Brien

Director of Education
(202) 675-0372

Dr. O’Brien was named the Folger’s director of education in May 2013. A former Folger educator, she established the Library’s education philosophy and the bulk of its programs in the 1980s and led the department until 1994, when she left to become director of education programs for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Concurrent with that appointment and in collaboration with Cambridge University Press and Georgetown University, she launched and published Shakespeare Magazine, a print and online magazine for teachers of Shakespeare.

In 2000, she became Chief Operating Officer of KIKO: Knowledge In, Knowledge Out, Inc., an internet educational company and, a year later, was named Executive Director of the National Cable and Telecommunications Education Foundation. In 2004, she returned to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as senior vice president of education programming and services.

Most recently, she was the chief of family and public engagement for D.C. public schools and a member of the Chancellor’s leadership team. Dr. O’Brien earned an A.B. from Trinity College, an M.A. from Catholic University of America, and a Ph.D. from The American University. She serves on a variety of boards and advisory committees and is frequently called upon to delivery keynote addresses and papers. Among her publications are the Shakespeare Set Free series published by Simon and Schuster. Her long and distinguished career has brought her numerous awards and honors, including Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Trinity University, Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from Georgetown University, the Public Humanities Award from the D.C. Community Humanities Council, and the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2008 Shakespeare Steward Award. Prior to her first appointment at the Folger, she spent a number of years teaching high school English in the DC Public Schools, and since then has taught undergraduate courses at Georgetown University.