OCDSB Trustee, Zone 11, River

Who is Shirley Seward?

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After 15 years as CEO of the Canadian Labour Market and Productivity Centre, a national think-tank on education needs and workplace co-operation,  Shirley Seward was elected in 2010 as Public School Trustee for River Zone.

As a Trustee, she is Chair of the Audit Committee, a member of the Budget Committee and the Committee of the Whole, a Director of the Board of OCENET (Ottawa Carleton Education Network, and a Director of the Board of OPSBA (the Ontario Public School Board Association). These are all elected positions.

Shirley began her working life as a teacher in Montreal, where she grew up in the Lebanese community -- her mother is Georgette Shaheen and her father is an Australian World War Two veteran,  Gordon Seward.

A long-time resident of Ottawa,  since her MA at Carleton University,  Shirley has been a leader on many policy questions.  She worked on refugee and poverty issues in poorer countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean.   Then her concerns took her into more active political engagement -- serving John Turner as Senior Advisor on social policy and women’s issues in the Prime Minister’s Office.

After that, she was given responsibility for directing the social policy program of the Institute for Research in Public Policy -- where she put focus on educational needs of immigrants and improving job opportunities across Canada.

As CEO of the Canadian Labour Market Centre, Shirley successfully faced the task of restructuring the organization to strengthen its future,  and built a role for it as a core part of a new “learning network” aimed at improving education.

Shirley has strong connections with River Zone. She lived for years on Owl Drive in Hunt Club, on Clyde Avenue near Central Park and on Villa Crescent near Hogs Back and Prince of Wales.

Shirley has two stepsons and she and her husband adopted their two daughters from China in 1997 and 1999.  The girls played at Mooney’s Bay beach during Shirley’s parental leaves -- and now play beach volleyball there! Sarah has just graduated from high school and has chosen to go to Carleton University's International Business Program, and Rebecca is going into Grade 10 in our public school system.