A South Dakota native, Shirley and her husband moved to Saint Paul in 1993. She has been a volunteer and community activist for more than a quarter of a century. While raising their three daughters, she attended Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes with them; took them to T-ball, volleyball, and coached soccer at Saint Paul recreation centers; went to story times, summer reading programs and other activities at our great local libraries and checked out gazillions of books; took them to community education classes where they excelled in synchronized swimming and traveled to meets all over the country; volunteered in their Saint Paul Public School classrooms; frequently visited our great parks and trails; and all the other things parents do within our Saint Paul community.
Shirley has volunteered for the American Red Cross and has mentored teenage mothers through Children’s Home Society. She has been elected to the Union Park District Council Board of Directors three times and served on the Executive Committee and Environment and Parks Committee.
She has her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics. Her first job out of college was with United States Senator Larry Pressler, working in his Washington, D.C. office. She looks back on those days with nostalgia, knowing that people could disagree on policies and issues while being civil to one another and treating one another with respect.
In 2013, she was hired as Executive Director for a local non-profit, Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County. In that position, she has worked extensively on issues within the community and with city, county, regional, state, and national government officials and staff. She has served on several city task forces.
In 2016, she founded the group, Women Who Get Stuff Done. In 2018, she ran in the special election for the Ward 4 Saint Paul City Council seat.
She is a founding member of Saint Paul STRONG, getting involved after she realized the 30 boards and commissions in Saint Paul were operating well below capacity and without diverse voices at the table.