Board of Directors
Our board is the leader of change.
- For additional information: Education Foundation of Ottawa General Administrative Bylaws
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.
Ridwana Quarnain – Chair, Training Consultant at Cornerstone University-CSOD
Second chances matter more than first impressions. Having worked with students in different countries from across the entire socioeconomic spectrum, I have realized that most children just need another opportunity to be successful in their own capacity. My exposure to local, national, and international populations, led to the creation of a toolkit comprised of lessons from teachable moments and distinctive methodologies that can be tailored to the specific needs of students. Typically agnostic of traditional models of education, it is important to me that I choose or develop ones that work best.
Being experienced in starting up secondary school programs overseas, it is important to me that students are at the forefront of our minds when building initiatives. We are the educators and our first priority should always be the student-which is why I am thrilled to be on the EFO Board. Time and time again, The Education Foundation has been exemplary in demonstrating that it has the best interests of students at heart. Having been a part of a demographic where first impressions could also be counted as last, I am looking forward to working with EFO and securing access to those first chances for our future generations.
Jenna AuCoin – Vice-Chair, Educational Assistant, OCV School Central-West Campus, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
I’ve been working with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board as an Educational Assistant since 2017. I started working at Carson Grove, and then I moved to Blossom Park to work in the Generalized Learning Program, then as a virtual EA with Ottawa Carleton Virtual. I’m currently working in one of the ASD classes at Summerside Public School. Working front-line with children has been my passion for many years. I first learned of the Education Foundation of Ottawa while working as an EA.
I saw firsthand how important it was for students in the Ottawa area to have access to consistent food, school supplies, clothing, etc. After working front-line, I decided I wanted to play an important role behind the scenes as well. I’m thrilled to be a part of the ongoing effort and dedication that the EFO serves to Ottawa-area students. I hope to bring my knowledge and experience of working in the schools to the Board and also to be able to advocate for the EFO as a front-line worker. I truly believe all students in Ottawa should have the same quality of education and I’m honoured to be a part of the team that helps to close that gap.
Lee-Anne Feltham – Treasurer, Elementary Consultant, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Lee-Anne has always had a passion for supporting at-risk students and those in need. Working in education for over 20 years, Lee-Anne has been a Special Education Learning Centre, Behaviour Intervention Program and Learning Resource teacher. As a classroom teacher, Lee-Anne was able to see firsthand the positive impacts the Education Foundation makes in the lives of students by providing equity of opportunity and removing barriers to learning and wellbeing.
In recent years, Lee-Anne has been working in health and safety and is Co-Chair of the OCDSB’s Joint Health & Safety Committee. In this role, Lee-Anne continuously looks for ways to support safe and healthy learning and working environments for all students and staff. Being of service to the community has been a lifelong value and Lee-Anne has volunteered with a number of non-profit and charitable organizations. This has included Volunteer Coordinator for the YMCA-YWCA, chaperone for Dreams Take Flight Ottawa, and most recently, volunteering with the Make a Wish Foundation of Eastern Ontario. Lee-Anne also served as Co-Chair and on the Board of Directors for the former Ottawa-Carleton Inner City Education Association supporting economically and socially disadvantaged children and families. Lee-Anne has supported and promoted the Education Foundation since it was created and is excited by the opportunity to be directly involved in looking for innovative ways to provide access to opportunities and reduce barriers to success for all students in the OCDSB.
Camille Williams-Taylor – Ex-Officio Director, Director of Education, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Camille Williams-Taylor is an innovative leader and an accomplished learner who ensures that excellence and equity co-exist throughout the District. She cultivates an environment that embraces creativity and brings together a variety of voices to foster positive relationships and support student learning and well-being. Building a vision for public education that ensures students have the best learning opportunities in a safe and caring environment is Director Williams-Taylor’s priority. Her goal is to always influence and motivate colleagues, staff, community partners and students to galvanize their voices and realize their potential.
Her leadership capabilities have evolved through time and experience. In the last three decades, she has been a classroom teacher, a principal, a superintendent, a Ministry of Education student achievement officer and a Faculty of Education course director. She believes learning happens everywhere. In every one of her roles, she has learned from students, staff, colleagues and community leaders. As an educational leader, she is tasked with fostering change to encourage young people to leverage their talents and come up with innovative approaches to building possibilities. This task motivates her approach to leadership. Camille is a wife and the mother of three daughters.
Lynn Scott – Ex-Officio Director, Chair, Board of Trustees, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Lynn was first elected to the Carleton Board of Education in 1994. Elected to serve on the OCDSB in 1997, she became the first Chair of the newly amalgamated board in 1997-1998. In subsequent terms, she has served as Vice-chair several times and as Chair in 2007-2009, and was chosen again as Chair for 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. Trustee Scott cares passionately about public education, and brings an in-depth knowledge of OCDSB schools and our local communities, together with an up-to-date understanding of student needs. She is well known for her commitment to student well-being, student-focused learning, fiscal accountability and good governance.
Michelle Bailey – Director, Senior Policy Advisor, Government of Canada
Michelle is a senior policy advisor for the Government of Canada and holds a Master’s of Public Policy from Simon Fraser University. She has a particular interest in social policy and has experience working on a variety of policy files including mental health, pharmacare, youth employment, and intergovernmental affairs. Michelle is committed to community involvement and has volunteered with the Royal Ottawa Foundation and as a Sunday school teacher for several years.
She firmly believes that all children have the right to education and is passionate about issues of equity, diversity and social justice. As a former OCDSB student, Michelle is honoured to serve on the Board of the Education Foundation of Ottawa. She brings experience in strategic planning, policy development, and stakeholder engagement to the role. Michelle is excited to work with other Board members to help advance the Foundation’s mission to remove economic barriers to successful learning and participation at school.
Geoff Best – Director, Executive Director, Ottawa-Carleton Education Network
Geoff Best is the Executive Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Education Network (OCENET), a non-profit organization established by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) that represents the board internationally. Geoff has been involved in international education for 30 years and has a wide variety of experiences in the field. He has served on the EFO Board since 2011 and has a very strong interest in the areas of intercultural communication and cross-cultural exchange. OCENET has established bursaries for staff and students in the OCDSB interested in engaging in global learning. Information on student bursaries and the application can be found on the EFO website.
Neha Issar – Corporate Lawyer, Dentons Canada LLP
Neha is a corporate lawyer with Dentons, the world’s largest leading law firm. Her practice encompasses advising technology startups and emerging growth companies on day-to-day issues and challenges, providing practical experience and perspective to her clients.
Having volunteered at elementary and high schools in different countries throughout law school, Neha has frequently engaged with and assisted students from various socioeconomic backgrounds. As such, she has always been committed to providing strategic guidance to educators in the development of innovative ideas that may foster change and promote student well-being.
As a board member, Neha is eager to use her legal and business acumen to support the Foundation in its charitable initiatives and in its mission to provide children with an equal opportunity for success.
Zofia Jurewicz – Director, 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!
Paula Marinigh, Director, Retired Educator
Drawn to the work of the Foundation by its commitment to ‘level the playing field’, I share a vision of caring schools providing children with equitable opportunities to learn, grow and fulfil their potential. To reach this goal, I believe that all students need to feel they belong and that minimizing hardships and barriers is critical in order to achieve equity. I came to public education from a background in child welfare and have held the role of the classroom teacher, guidance counsellor, vice-principal and principal over the course of my thirty-year career with the OCDSB. Working in schools allowed me to see firsthand the positive difference the work of EFO made for students and their families. As a first-generation Canadian, volunteer English Language tutor, and observant traveller, I hold a particular interest in supporting immigrant families. Public education continues to be the means by which so many children can realize the hopes and dreams their parents hold for them. An engaged retiree, I continue to work as a contract and casual Principal in the district and am concerned about the impact of the pandemic on widening the gaps in our district. I appreciate diverse perspectives in tackling the challenges children face and look forward to continuing to collaborate with the EFO Board of Directors on this important work.
Soulene Sabir – Director, Student, University of Ottawa
As a university student pursuing medicine, I’ve developed a strong understanding of what children need and deserve. Working in clinics and tutoring has pushed me to advocate for a healthy environment for children to learn. My volunteering experience at The Door Ottawa and Equalsci, have shown me the inequity in Ottawa, pushing me to join the EFO. As a board member, I will shape the environment that children grow up around. My goal is to help continue the substantial efforts being made by EFO to ensure all children have a sense of belonging.
Tracy Shapiro – Director, Principal, Brookfield High School, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Tracy has been working in education for twenty-three years as a teacher and administrator, she believes that every decision made on behalf of students should be student-centred. She is a strong proponent for ensuring equity in opportunity to programs for our most at-risk students. While working as a vice-principal at Woodroffe High School and Glebe Collegiate Institute, she has had the opportunity to work with community organizations that have partnered with our schools to support at-risk students in socio-economic disadvantaged areas of Ottawa. These include Pathways to Education in the Pinecrest Community and SWAG (Students Will All Graduate) in the Carlington Community.
She has also been in charge of Toonie Tuesday events at her previous schools and knows and understands the work that the Education Foundation of Ottawa does. Her volunteer experience has extended beyond the OCDSB by helping with Shepherds of Good Hope and participating in annual fundraising activities for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa. The Education Foundation of Ottawa has supported many students and families she has worked with within her schools.
Steve Spidell – Director, Principal, Colonel By Secondary School, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Steve currently serves as Principal at Colonel By Secondary School in Ottawa. He has been an educator for 22 years in schools that represent the diversity of lived experiences and personal circumstances for the learners of the OCDSB. For four years, Steve was an administrator at an Urban & Priority High School where he focused on identifying students’ socioeconomic circumstances that impacted their well-being and academic achievement. He believes that schools are meant to be places of safety, comfort and happiness. Targeting resources towards English Language Learners, students with special education needs, Indigenous students, and those who were living in poverty became a priority for the program. Steve is an advocate and partner for various community organizations including the Ottawa Network for Education for whom he delivered the keynote address at its record-breaking 2019 fundraising gala.
As Principal of one of the District’s largest secondary sites, Steve strives to establish mutual trust and respect within his community and ensures that the diversity of his students is reflected in his decision-making. As a school leader, he believes in building relationships with all of the school’s stakeholders and strategically allocating resources where they will have the greatest impact. Steve’s own personal circumstances have taught him the value of resilience and compassion and they have made him more globally aware. Steve also serves on the Board of Directors for a large downtown condominium corporation.
Sandra Walker – Director, Principal, Mutchmor Public School, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Sandra came to education as a second career. She started her teaching career at Queen Elizabeth PS. Sandra taught 5 years at this high needs school, created lessons on economic shopping and cooking for a family as part of her math curriculum, and she introduced financial literacy lessons on the value of education through the ONFE Junior Achievement program. Sandra has always been a strong advocate for a Caring Adult program, a program that has proven how one caring adult can make a difference in a student’s life. She advocates for this program in all her schools and is seeing a turnaround in student behaviour. Believing that students need to know how to learn, she has modelled for and supported other educators to maintain high expectations, create safe spaces, and recognize strengths so students can start to be in charge of their learning and advocate for themselves.
As a central educator, vice-principal and principal, Sandra has taken these beliefs into her position of education leadership. She always listens first, will stand beside her teachers to inspire, encourage them to take risks, and learn from failures and successes. She understands and implements the board’s vision of creating cultures of innovation, caring and social responsibility in the service of building tomorrow’s leaders.