Graduation Day with my Dad
Receiving Access Recognition Award with Marilyn
Moziar Raising Awareness on Mental Health Issues
Dan & Susan taken in 2000
Educator's Resource Guide
CPF Presents a Plaque for 40 years of French
Immersion in the Upper Grand DSB
with Andre Hoogendorn Simmonds (long time
teacher), Andrea Higgins (one of the first
students in the program), Martha Rogers and
Brownie Pack circa 1971
lifelong commitment to education…
One could say my connection to education is
lifelong. From my own early school years in England
through my high school and university years in
Canada. As a volunteer while my four children
navigated the public school system in Guelph and
during my 25-year career at the University of Guelph.
Now, sharing my time between helping to care for my
grandchildren and serving as a School Board trustee
in Upper Grand seems only natural. Education is my
passion and my vocation – it is somewhere I have
always chosen to spend my time professionally and as
I have been a resident of Guelph since 1969 – save
for a three-year hiatus in Nova Scotia – and I have
served as a School Board trustee in Upper Grand for
the past 23 years.
Having spent my early years in England, I immigrated
to Canada with my parents in 1955. We settled in
Toronto’s west end, where I was introduced to the
Canadian education system at Etobicoke Collegiate
Institute. After high school, I attended Trinity
College, University of Toronto and graduated with a
B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics. Upon graduation, I
accepted a position as a computer programmer with
the Shell Oil Company in Toronto.
When my first child was born, daycare was not
available in our neighbourhood. And, because my
mother had died from brain cancer seven months
before, the help from extended family that we had
planned on was no longer available. I made the
decision to leave the workforce to raise my
We moved to Guelph in 1969 when my husband Dan
accepted a position as Associate Director of Systems
and Programming in the Institute of Computer Science
at the University of Guelph. We happily settled into
the community with our growing family and
established deep roots.
Ten years later, Dan accepted a position at Nova
Scotia Power and we moved to Dartmouth. Although we
had made our home in Guelph, the opportunity to
spend three years in another province gave me an
interesting perspective on the diversity of Canadian
culture and a glimpse into education in another
In 1981, we returned to Guelph and I completed a
diploma in Computing and Information Science in
1984. Subsequently, I was hired as a research
assistant to Dr. John Holt at the University of
Guelph. He established one of the first
microcomputer labs in an Ontario University and I
was appointed to the position of Microcomputer
Coordinator of the College of Physical and
Engineering Science. I retired from that position in
June 2006 after spending a rewarding 25-year career
in the microcomputer field.
Growing up in Guelph, our four children had the
opportunity to attend a number of public schools in
this community. Now, Dan and I have three
grandchildren, two of whom currently attend schools
in Guelph. I have provided daycare two or three
times a week since my grandchildren were a year
old. You may find me with one of my grandchildren
attending gymnastics, swimming or music lessons or
running around in the neighbourhood playground. Our
oldest grandchild will be going into Grade 7 so I
remain very involved in child development and
continue to stay connected to what is happening in
our local schools on a personal, as well as a
Commitment to Education:
I feel strongly about “service to the community” and
much of my community involvement has focused on
When my children were in school, I was an active
participant in Parent Teacher Organizations (now
known as School Councils) and also served as
President, Program Chair and member of the Shelldale
PTO from 1971 to 1979.
I was one of a group of parents who convinced the
Wellington Board of Education to establish the
French Immersion Program as a permanent program
I was a member of the Principal's Advisory Committee
at J. F. Ross C. I. (1987-88).
I was a member of the Board of Governors of
Dartmouth Academy, Dartmouth, N.S. (1978-80)
I served as President and Program chair of the
Guelph French Immersion Association (1976-78).
I have also been an active volunteer in the Girl
Guide organization over the years.
I started a Brownie Pack at Shelldale School.
Commitment to Community:
I have lobbied for better Mental Health Services
within our community.
I have organized an "All Candidates" meeting during one
provincial election to create awareness among all
candidates of the need for more services to support
those suffering from mental illness.
I have volunteered with "The Wizard of Hope Walk"
for Schizophrenia and have supported ADVOX Wellingon
– a local group promoting better services for
children suffering mental health issues.
I initiated the document "An Educator's Resource
Guide: Mental Illness in School-Aged Children". This
document has been used in the Upper Grand District
School Board to educate teachers and administrators
about mental illness within the school population.
You can read more about the initiative here:
Mercury Article and
another article here.
In 2000, Guelph-Wellington Barrier-Free Committee
awarded me with an "Access Recognition Award" for
the "Outstanding Contribution of an Educator" for my
work in the mental health field.
Hobbies and Interests:
Computers and technology, gardening, genealogy,
classical music, knitting, needlework, quilting.