Leader, educator, passionate advocate.
As teacher, consultant, principal and mentor, Shirley O’Neil had a tremendous impact on the lives of teachers and students in the Rainbow District School Board. Shirley is passionate about promoting science and technology to female students and was a guiding light behind the Math Science and Technology Olympics, the Entrepreneurship Trade Show and assisted in the organization of the joint Cambrian College/Sudbury Board of Education Technology Fair. In addition, Shirley was the founding chair of the Sudbury Regional Heritage Fair which she spearheaded for many years and, along with her committee, organized a National Heritage Fair in Sudbury. Further, Shirley acted as a mentor to female staff encouraging them to participate in board wide committees and to assume leadership roles within the board.
Shirley is also passionate in her commitment to promoting sport and healthy lifestyles especially for girls and women. Not only did Shirley play with the Valley East Ladies Volleyball League for 25 years, acting as president for 15 of those years, but also spent twenty years in leadership roles promoting baseball at local, regional and provincial levels. As president of the Carol Richard Park Playground Association, she ensured that local amenities for children were safe and well-maintained.
Shirley remains active in retirement. She serves as President both of Unit 238 for the American Contract Bridge League and the Elizabeth Fry Chapter IODE, a women’s charitable organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for those in need through education, social services, and citizenship programs.
Shirley’s achievements have been recognized by numerous awards at local and national levels. She was inducted into the Valley East Sports Hall of Fame; she was recognized by the National Heritage Fair Committee; she received the Apple Award – the highest award given by the Rainbow District School Board; and in 2002 received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (Citizen Service) from the Governor General of Canada.
Shirley’s boundless energy, her wisdom, her generosity, her high principles, her sense of justice and willingness to fight for a cause, along with her exceptional organizational and leadership abilities make her truly a woman of distinction.
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