Shirley Giroux, Ph.D., RCC

School Counselor
Canada: British Columbia Hub | NORTH AMERICA

The child of two adventurous teachers, Shirley grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada’s North (all three territories at different points), and the village of Valemount, BC, to which she has lately returned with her husband and two school-aged children to be a school counsellor. Being half-time at each of Valemount Elementary and Secondary schools, she has the unique opportunity to work with all of the students, education staff, and school families in the village. Shirley trained as a secondary science teacher and started her teaching career in BC’s Cariboo-Chilcotin region where she taught for 13 years. She spent three years as an elementary school principal before deciding to move back to Valemount for her current position, which was too good to pass up. She also teaches sessional classes at two local universities.

Shirley is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a particular interest in resilience, attachment, and infant mental health (especially with regards to caregiver support). In 2019, she completed a PhD in Health Sciences wherein she combined her various interests to look at sources of resilience of self-identified female teachers who managed multiple caregiving demands in their daily work. This work won her two national awards. She continues to do independent research and is an EdCan expert contributor for their “Well at Work” series. Shirley is particularly interested in how connection and resilience can be fostered for people living and working in rural and remote settings where there are typically fewer local resources.

Shirley’s philosophy of education is centered on ensuring students are still curious and willing to take on learning challenges after each stage of their educational journeys. Implied in this is the assumption that each student will be provided with the conditions, supports, and tools they need to feel safe and be successful. This must happen within the larger context of a healthy school culture that actively models and privileges the skills and attitudes that we all need to build and sustain healthy, positive, trusting relationships for everyone across roles and generations as these relationships are central to resilience for people at every age and stage. Shirley was attracted to Compassionate Systems Leadership and the opportunity to complete the master practitioner training because of its strong alignment with this guiding philosophy and with her work as a mental health professional. She is honoured and excited to be included in the second cohort.