About Your Trustee

I am currently Vice-Chair of the Board and Trustee for River Zone at the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, first elected in 2010.

I began my career as a teacher in Montreal, then spent two years teaching in the Caribbean with the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO). This time in developing countries convinced me that poverty is pervasive, not only there but in significant pockets of rich countries such as Canada, and that education is one of the most important factors in overcoming poverty and making productive and secure societies.

I returned to Canada and obtained an MA in International Affairs at Carleton University. This gave me the tools to help alleviate poverty and promote the value of education and lifelong learning. For ten years, I worked with the International Development Research Centre, developing projects in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and South America, working with partners in local universities and governments. 

After this period of international activity, my interests turned to Canada and the role of public policy in ensuring a productive economy and a more equitable society, with strong social supports. Prior to and during the 1984 federal election I worked as a senior policy advisor to John Turner in the Prime Minister’s Office. Subsequently I became Director of a new Social Policy Program at the Institute for Research on Public Policy. For six years I worked on issues such as the role and needs of new immigrants in the Canadian labour market and society, the importance of education, training and lifelong learning, income tax policy as it affects the poor, income security and the needs of First Nations peoples.

Governments play an important role in Canada, but other key actors can and do make a critical difference. As CEO for 15 years of the Canadian Labour and Business Centre, I worked with a large stakeholder Board on a wide range of social and economic issues. My Board included national business and labour leaders, Deputy Ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial levels, and education leaders.

Now I am an elected Public School Trustee and Vice-Chair of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. I was elected as the Trustee for River Zone in 2010, and I am running for re-election in 2014. As a Trustee, my first priorities are the needs and concerns of parents, schools and the community in River Zone. It is a joy to draw on my varied past to help build better public education.

Trustee Shirley Seward with her family -- daughters Sarah and Rebecca, husband Steven Langdon, son Jonathan and his wife Liliona -- plus grand-daughter Zya.