Shirley and her sister Marie (Moore) have fond memories of growing up in Sydney during a time when families and communities were especially close-knit. Shirley graduated from Sydney Academy and went on to become an elementary school teacher, and taught for more than thirty years. Since retiring, she shares her love of the profession with student teachers, mentoring them in their desire to be inspirational educators. Her commitment to the importance of peace education that promotes an anti-bullying agenda for all students, has resulted in the publication of a book on the topic entitled Frieden lernen (Learning Peace). She has lived in Halifax since 1985 where she raised three children, Jennifer, Natalie and Quinn. She has three grandchildren.