Together we are #ETFOstrong

Honorary Life Member Award Winner: Susan Swackhammer

Media Release

Susan began her career as a primary teacher in the Brant County Board of Education.  She resigned after six years to begin her family.

Of course, for many reasons, not the least of which was another income, after taking a 15 year leave to raise her children she returned to occasional teaching because there were no permanent positions at the time. During that period Susan became president of the Brant County Occasional Teacher Local and led the first strike of OT’s in the county.  It was a very successful strike on many levels.  A year later Susan was hired to a permanent position.  She was tapped on the shoulder immediately to become involved in the local Women Teachers’ Association (WTA).  Now the passion for the union was strong.  As well as serving as local president for four years, Susan was elected first to the Board of Directors of the Federation of Women Teachers’ Associations of Ontario (FWTAO) and later as an Executive Member. 

It was here that she was involved in the formation of ETFO.  Susan was one of many provincial leaders whose job it was to showcase ETFO across the province, gaining support for the new union in an every member vote.  She is proud to be a founding member and still has the pen that she used to sign the Charter.

In 1998, Susan was elected as the first First Vice-President of ETFO and was in that role for two years.  She continued her involvement in the union by serving on the Grand Erie Teacher Local Executive and becoming local president two years later.

In 2007, while serving as local president, Susan successfully ran again for the ETFO Executive.  In 2009, she was elected as First Vice-President for the second time. From this position, Susan retired in 2017, making her the longest serving First Vice-President.

Susan thanks the members across the province who have shown such commitment to publicly funded education. “You made my job so much easier. It has been such an honour to be a leader in this organization.  It has given me more than I could have ever imagined.  I’m truly honoured to be receiving this award tonight.”


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