Board of Directors
Our board is the leader of change.
The Education Foundation of Ottawa’s board brings together expert knowledge of the academic system, a deep understanding of the importance of education, and a passionate commitment to children. Through their leadership and guidance, the Education Foundation of Ottawa continues to provide for the well-being of our school board’s 15,000 students living in poverty.
Sales Representative, RE/MAX Hallmark Real Estate As a child, I was privileged to grow up in a home where I had everything I needed. My parents were able to provide me with the tools to excel in my education. I am thankful everyday for what I was given, and humbled by the experiences I have gained as a result of my upbringing. My own fortune has instilled in me a deep desire to help those who simply don’t have the opportunities I was afforded. The numbers of underprivileged students in our city are staggering, but the Education Foundation of Ottawa is doing something to change their circumstances. Every child deserves an equal opportunity to be involved, to learn, and to contribute to society. The Education Foundation of Ottawa is giving every child a chance – and that important work is something I feel drawn to be a part of.
Director of Education, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board As the Director of Education at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, I have experienced an incredible partnership with the Education Foundation of Ottawa. Our school district is focussed on “closing the gap” that income disparity creates, and our Foundation provides additional resources to help us do this. As a parent and an educator, I see education as a building block to creating a solid foundation to prepare our students for the future. The Foundation ensures that our students have the tools needed to reach their full potential. Our teachers and staff have somewhere to turn when they see these types of needs in their schools. This incredible partnership is vital to the well-being of students in our school district, and I am proud to be a part of ensuring that every student has an equal opportunity to thrive.
Assistant Branch Manager, RBC – A Professional in the financial services industry for over 25 years. As a leader I focus on building collaborative teams who strive for success. An active volunteer in the community for many great causes near and dear to my heart. Growing up I was fortunate to be provided with the necessities needed as were my children. Always wanting to be part of a cause in which the primary focus is helping children succeed and giving them every opportunity available, just as I had as a child. Children are our future and I am dedicated to helping all children of our community have an equal opportunity for success.
Lieutenant, Canadian Forces (retired). Michael grew up in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, moving to Ottawa in 2008 to complete his undergraduate studies in Political Science and Arabic Language and Culture. As his studies came to a close, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces. His career has offered him many unique challenges few have had the opportunity to experience, including spending nearly 4 years with the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, which allowed him to travel to some of the most complex environments in the world. Now serving as a Lieutenant (Navy) with the Chief of Force Development, Michael manages over $50 million in projects, seeking to leverage innovative technologies to increase the security of our forces at home and abroad, while simultaneously strengthening Canada’s economic base.
In 2015 Michael started his Executive MBA at the Telfer School of Management of the University of Ottawa. Always keen to enhance the learning experience of others, Michael ran for and was elected by his peers as Class President. Michael has taken full advantage of his time as Class President, using the opportunity to take on a number of initiatives, including support to various local charities, helping raise over $20,000 for the Oshki Kizis Lodge, Ancoura, and JA Ottawa. Graduating in June 2017, Michael has been working hard to enable the classes’ support to JA Ottawa, wherein he has helped secure over 45 volunteers and $10,000 to provide the largest one-day delivery of JA programming in JA Ottawa history; the majority of the schools they will be supporting are within the OCDSB.
Through his Executive MBA, Michael’s passion for education grew, believing that innovation and education were the two most important factors that would lead to the future well-being of Canadians. Seeing a skills gap first hand among graduating students, particularly in the realm of entrepreneurship, business, and financial literacy, has been key in driving Michael towards supporting the next generation of leaders. As he explored this space, Michael came to see the impact of income disparities across our great city, and just how important it is to address this in order to ensure our future has the education they need to flourish as contributing members of society. It is this important lesson that has driven Michael to OFE, believing it offers the greatest prospect to address the underlying obstacles to success.
Executive Director, Ottawa-Carleton Education Network I was first introduced to the EFO through my role as Executive Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Education Network. At the time I was surprised to learn how many students in our schools were in need of assistance for many things that most students in Canada take for granted: 3 meals a day; proper clothing; school supplies; etc. The EFO is doing its utmost to provide emergency support for many of these students but needs ongoing support to meet the needs of all. I joined the board because I want to help the EFO continue to boost and sustain these efforts and to look for ways to find long-term solutions to problems of inequity. I hope to be able to raise awareness and engagement in the foundation locally and internationally.
Education and students matter to me because they shape the culture that we live in. In my work, I am fortunate to be able to visit schools and meet with students around the world. It strikes me from those I have visited, that in countries where education promotes a strong sense of belonging in its schools, that the culture tends to be more inclusive and the country positively engaged in its growth and development. Students who are in need, who go to school hungry, are not on an equal footing with their peers and are likely to feel that they don’t belong and at a great distance from the culture that they live in. It is important to me that all students feel a sense of belonging and that they are recognized as important participants in their community and culture.
Lawyer, Bell Baker LLP My practice includes real estate, corporate and commercial law as well as trusts and estates matters. Prior to being called to the Ontario Bar, he articled with Bell Baker LLP. Clear communication and a client focus define my approach to work. I understand the value of building trust through approachability and open communication. His emphasis is on ensuring that clients know that their needs are understood and that they are informed about what is being done to protect them. Matt also understands the importance of getting things done right, the first time. Brought up in a family run small business, he brings a first-hand appreciation of the value in delivering quality services, efficiently, in the work that he does. I volunteer because I want to help ensure our future generation has every opportunity to be a positive impact on their community and the larger world around them. Through the Education Foundation of Ottawa we are able to provide a hand up to students in need. We make sure that every child has the opportunity to be successful in any academic or social circumstance.
President, Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects Inc. Designing better schools is what I do. As an architect, my work lies in creating spaces that are conducive to learning. I invest my time and my heart in visualizing new ways to help young minds flourish. As a board member, I get to invest directly in our children. I get to help imagine schools where all children are included, no matter where they come from or what they have. We work to remove barriers for children living in poverty, creating a system that not only reaches out to help but also encourages and teaches other children to care for each other. The Education Foundation of Ottawa shows all students that they are worth investing in, and that changes lives!
Chief Product Officer, Kivuto Solutions Ryan is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Kivuto Solutions, Inc., a mid-sized Education Technology company based in Ottawa. Ryan firmly believes in Kivuto’s mission to lower the cost of education for students; Kivuto distributes over 30m high value digital resources, like software and eTextbooks, to students in 190+ countries at low or no cost on behalf of publishers like Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Pearson, Nelson and others. As a father of two young children in Ottawa’s public school system and the son of a high school teacher, Ryan understands the importance of education and empathizes with the plight of the thousands of local students in need in Ottawa who deserve to have the same opportunities as their peers.
In addition to Ryan’s 11 years of work experience in the education technology space in managerial and executive level positions, Ryan holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Ottawa (2017) and a Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of Victoria (2005). Ryan has extensive experience managing projects, leading organizational change, working with educational institutions, implementing B2B and B2C marketing strategies, and developing new and transformational business ideas into viable products. Ryan has previous experience serving on non-profit boards and was a Director for the Carleton Conservative Electoral District Association. Ryan has been in Ottawa since 2006 and lives with his wife and two sons in Manotick.
Chair, Board of Trustees, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board 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.
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 is a dedicated supporter of students, parents and our community.
Philanthropist, Owner Nate’s Deli, Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre David has become well known for his commitment to his community and its well being. He credits his parents with having instilled in him the gift of giving early in life, particularly for those who are the most disadvantaged in the community. This has been a particular inspiration throughout his life. David’s boundless enthusiasm and unshaken belief in mankind represents the key ingredients to his incredible success in gathering like-minded people around an issue or a cause to change things and improve the lives of others. His passionate commitment to the carious causes and fundraising on their behalf in Canada and elsewhere.
Principal, Roch Carrier Public School As a school principal, I see first-hand on a daily basis the negative effect poverty has on students. I have also seen the incredible change individualized support can create for our children. The Education Foundation of Ottawa enables students who have been through turmoil and hardship to emerge as strong, bright, brilliant and gifted leaders. It is my greatest privilege to witness these transformations in my role as principal. I know our students all have the capacity to be great. But it is the help of the Foundation that enables many of them to reach their full potential. As an educator, I feel morally obligated to help each of my students grow into thoughtful and involved global citizens. The support many receive from the Education Foundation of Ottawa gives them the chance to fully participate in a world that truly belongs to them. I know education is the core that molds successful and capable citizens of tomorrow.