First-generation Canadian, Cindy (Konig) Matthews was born in Oakville, Ontario in 1957 and raised in southern Ontario. She graduated from Waterloo-Oxford DSS in 1975, a unique high school whose entire student population consisted of students from two rural counties near Kitchener-Waterloo. All students were transported to school by yellow bus unless they could drive. The parking lot behind the school had the following: vans, pick-up trucks, snowmobiles, cars, motorcycles, bicyles, scooters. Common student surnames were Schwartzentruber, Nafziger, Yantzee, Bauman, Jutzi, Martin and Bowman, to name a few. Many famous Canadians graduated from WODSS such as the CEO of Challenger Transport, Dan Einwechter.
After high school, Cindy studied honours recreation and education. She has degrees from the University of Waterloo, (1978) and Brock University, (1979) St. Catharines, Ontario. It was during a class taught by a professor with cerebral palsy that Cindy became passionate about working with students with special needs. She recalls that his lectures took twice as long to deliver and had twice the impact and added value.
She has a double specialist in Special Education and Guidance Counselling.
Cindy worked for thirty-two years in public education at the following institutions: Conestoga College, two high schools in Kitchener, a senior elementary school, three elementary schools including Linwood Public School in which more than three hundred students considered themselves members of the David Martin Mennonite group. Eight years Cindy worked as a school administrator working with the most disadvantaged of students: residents of youth facilities and maternity homes, those with mental health issues, severe developmental and medical issues and those with extreme internalizing or externalizing behaviours. She also had responsibilities for a county-wide enrichment program.
Cindy has had a pencil in her left hand since she could hold one. She can often be seen doodling or scribbling something on a post-it note. To date, her professional writing has had a three-fold focus: book reviewing, non-fiction / opinion articles, and literary fiction.
Her reviews of books have appeared in:
Waterloo Region Record, Professionally Speaking — a magazine sent to every Ontario College of Teachers member, Prick of the Spindle (June, 2013), Guelph Mercury, Wascana Review, and Bloom Blog, Bloorview, Toronto.
Her first educational article appeared in 1996 in FWTAO Newsletter, a magazine for female teachers of Ontario. Getting her first professional article published provided Cindy a huge smile!
Since then her non-fiction writing has appeared in: Waterloo Chronicle, Waterloo Region Record, Abilities Magazine, The New Hamburg Independent, CAP Journal for School-based Leadership, Open Magazine, Girlworks, Ontario Principals’ Council magazine: Register, SNOW website, and Leaders and Learners.
Cindy’s fiction has been published in Rhubarb Magazine (mental health edition), The Green Hills Literary Lantern, and Ascent Aspirations. Cindy’s story Algernon Louis Simon won third prize in the ALS Ontario writing contest, 2011.
A believer in continual improvement and lifelong learning, Cindy has studied writing by doing writing and through study at courses and workshops. Recently she completed an online course, Story is a State of Mind with author Sarah Selecky. Cindy is currently working with a mentor through Booming Ground, UBC, Vancouver.
Cindy writes in her studio office in a home in Bruce County, Ontario, from where she can view hills surrounding the hundred acres she shares with husband John and rescued labrador retriever, Maggie. Many of Cindy’s neighbours can also boast having roots in her former county, Waterloo Region and like her, have transplanted themselves to Bruce County. No longer riding a school bus, Cindy can sometimes spot from her office window a horse pulling a buggy carrying an Amish family.
Cindy is community spirited. She assists the local Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada branch. As well she is active with her local library’s book club and the Retired Teachers of Ontario branch. She recently had her first art show (acrylics and mixed media) and swims three times a week. When not reading, writing or painting, she teaches online courses for teachers through Queen’s University, Kingston. She frequently gets phone calls asking her to volunteer and Cindy is learning it is perfectly acceptable to say ‘no’.
Email: [email protected]